conflict zones, Europe, featured, Ukraine

The Minsk Deal Which Isn’t

So a deal seems to have been announced. Was one reached, however?

Leaks of draft documents and Putin’s smug briefing seem to corroborate Poroshenko’s earlier remark that “there is no good news yet”. Depending on the viewpoint, of course.

What we see a Minsk-2 deal which is a significant improvement for the DLNR and, practically, a concession on the part of Kiev. The main killers in this conflict – artillery and missile systems will be withdrawn to a significant distance from the current frontline. Kiev is supposed to unfreeze social payments to the people of Donbas. The possibility of free elections on the rebel-controlled territories is stated. A part of the deal Poroshenko was very eager to advertise, is the return of border control in Kiev’s hands. The hitch: this is supposed to happen only after the Rada in Kiev establishes Donbas’ ‘special status’.

Putin was outright facetious telling the public of Kiev’s own conception of what is going on in Debaltsevo. Ukraine claims none of its troops are surrounded there or anywhere, and Russia’s leader magnanimously allowed for some time needed for Kiev to come to terms with reality.

Still, there is a lot of skepticism in the pro-Novorussian blogosphere. Anatoliy Nesmiyants (El-murid.livejournal.com) claims that:

All arrangements are once again hanging on the parties’ word of honor. Putin says: ‘We believe that in Debaltseve 6-8 thousand security forces should lay down their arms.’ And if they do not, then what?

It is expected that the Constitution of Ukraine will be amended to take into account the interests of Donbass. And what if it isn’t?

Ceasefire is to take effect from 0:00 hours on February 15. Are there any guarantees for that but words of honor?

Only heavy weapons are to be pulled away, troops shall remain undivided. That is a repetition of the first Minsk agreements.

Putin said Kiev refuses direct contact with the DNR and LC.

The bottom line – almost zero. There are no specifics, there are no guarantees. In fact we have a truce before a new war.

Yura of Sumy (yurasumy.livejournal.com):

First, what that it has signed and by whom?

By the Contact group (in fact by nobody). The Heads of State signed nothing, but just made a statement that they are for peace in the world. According to the results, there was no joint press conference or photo shoot, anything that is necessary in this case. Had a talk and just split.

Second, what exactly the Contact group has signed?

It is again about heavy artillery and other equipment. Strangely enough, but their removal is scheduled for Feb. 17, that is, there are still 2.5 days (if not all 4.5) to wage war officially and without any consequences.

[Is the process to be] controlled by the OSCE? Well it does so now. And the shells keep falling. What’s the difference?

The economic blockade. The deal states that social benefits will be paid, and in general a lot of money will pour back into the region in the form of pensions and salaries to state employees. But this is only words. The main question is does Ukraine have the MONEY? The debts already accumulated are enormous. Yes, and how will the [destroyed] bank network start functioning again? More questions than answers.

And what about constitutional reform? Who is it and who will coordinate? If it is going to be the Ukrainian Parliament, I can predict the answer. If there is no other mechanism, this, with 102% certainty is Poroshenko’s death sentence. The document says that development of these changes should be coordinated with LDNR. Honestly, I cannot imagine this (Lyashko and Zaharchenko sitting down, deciding the status of Donbass). So the next question …

Control of the border, becomes even more virtual, because: it must begin after the elections, then a new constitution should be agreed upon, and elections under Ukrainian law have to be held by the end of 2015. Do you imagine all these happening by themselves? I can’t. And they ALL have to take place to let Ukraine control the Donbas border section.

WHO WON?

It is difficult to clearly judge who will benefit from it and who has lost. It all depends on the goals that were set by the parties.

Russia. If the goal was to tighten the agony of the Kiev regime (to get better prepared for it) and to provoke discontent in Ukraine with respect to Poroshenko from the “little Nazies”, I think this has been achieved. The Russian Federation itself did not take any obligation. Agreement seems to be about nothing. Which will allow these to be changed again to Russia’s advantage when the time comes.

Europe. I cannot say. Wait for their statements, and, most of all, action. A decision is to be taken today on sanctions. And not only on them. But I think that Europe has simply washed its hands, that is, it did exactly what it could (nothing).

Ukraine. No options. Poroshenko a-priori could not win yesterday or today. And did not. His situation has not improved. In some areas there are still references to the Minsk Agreement, but in general they have become even worse for the Ukrainian side even in diplomatic language. His hope is that they could have been even worse. But this fact is the only thing that gives him the chance to fly to Kiev and not be overthrown immediately, but after a while.

So today just another page has been turned over in the tragedy called Ukraine.

CONCLUSIONS. So far I see a document about nothing. Implementation of the terms of the document is impossible (by all parties, for whatever reasons) today. Moreover, all parties made every effort to achieve this outcome. That is why the war unfortunately will continue.