Hostilities have resumed along the ceasefire line in the rebel-held Donbass region of Ukraine.
There are serious signs that the Trump administration will continue to seek better relations with Russia. It declines to get involved in the hustling in Ukraine. It is ready to give up on the catastrophic regime-change agenda the neocons implemented in Kiev with the help of Ukrainian Nazi organizations.
Let us recap. On New Year the neo-conservative Senators McCain and Graham were in Ukraine to fire up Ukrainian troops at the front lines for a new fight with Russia supported rebels in Donetsk and Lugansk. A few days later then Vice President Biden also dropped in on Kiev. The three are declared enemies of Trump’s more friendly position towards Russia. They obviously intended to reignite the conflict in Ukraine to sabotage Trump’s new foreign policy.
The former Georgian President Saakashvilli has once fallen for the Bush administration’s incitement and attacked Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia. When that war went badly he received none of the hoped for backup from Washington and NATO.
Poroshenko should have learned from that. Instead he fell for the incitement and assurances from the senators and restarted the war with the separatists. Multiple news outlets and even Ukrainian generals first admitted that it was the Kiev government that started the current round of fighting by “creeping” into the no-man’s zone that was supposed to separate the belligerents. But as usual the “western” media now try to change history and to put the guilt on Russia. They press for a U.S. “response” to the “Russian aggression”.
At first it looked that this impressed the Trump administration. The new U.S. ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley held a speech that might have been written by her “wailing banshee” predecessor Samantha Powers. It condemned Russia for about everything and promised that sanctions on Russia would stay. But two days later she visited the Russian UN ambassador Churkin in his private home in New York city to make nice. The speech was probably just a head-fake or some uncoordinated screw-up.
The Ukrainian President Poroshenko had tried for several days to get a phonecall scheduled with President Trump. But on Thursday Trump met, very shortly though, Poroshenko’s opposition in Ukraine Yuliya Tymoshenko. She is a former prime minister and – said mildly- a controversial figure: always scheming, lying and ready to be offered and take huge bribes. But with some help she could probably win an election in Ukraine should Poroshenko step down.
Only on Saturday Trump finally had a phonecall with Poroshenko. The very short readout is a blast. It speaks of “Ukraine’s long-running conflict with Russia” and adds:
“We will work with Ukraine, Russia, and all other parties involved to help them restore peace along the border,” said President Trump.
Ukraine’s conflict is not with Russia and the fighting is not along the border. It is a genuine civil war, ignited by a U.S. regime change operation in Kiev, in wich both sides have external support. That Trump does not describes it that way leaves lots of room for interpretation. Is there a new “Russian border” along the current line of the ceasefire? What about the Minsk2 process which Ukraine has failed to implement? What about sanctions?
But the most important points: There is no mention of weapons or other support for Kiev. There is no blame on Russia for the renewed violence at the front-line.
My instant micro interpretation of the readout was:
Trump to Poroshenko (translated): I know you started this on order of McCain/Graham/Biden. Screw you. You will win nothing. You are out.
Poroshenko had fired up his troops and promised to fight the rebels throughout their autonomous area up to the Russian border. The intent behind that was to sabotage Trump’s policies. Poroshenko will now have to revise those plans.
Trump topped the above readout in an interview with Fox news a part of which was previewed last night (partial transcript):
Bill O’Reilly: Do you respect Putin?
President Trump: I do respect him but –
O’Reilly: Do you? Why?
President Trump: Well, I respect a lot of people but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us to fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world – that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.
O’Reilly: But he’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer.
President Trump: There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think – our country’s so innocent?
Whoa – Trump is rejecting the U.S. national religion – exceptionalism. The Republicans would have eaten Obama alive had he ever said something like that. “Are you suggesting that Russia which is always killing civilians is morally equal to us who only kill terrorists?” Now the Republicans will be silent about this and the Democrats will howl.
Taken together the recent statements by the Trump administration are positive for renewed U.S.- Russian cooperation. The Ukraine case will be a non-issue. Poroshenko listened to the wrong master’s voice. He will (have to) see the light and leave immediately or he will be kicked out of the way.