By Ivan Lizan
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Imagine yourself as Petro Poroshenko for a minute: you fly
in for a meeting, and you discover everyone is against you, the Europeans, the
Russians, even the clever Belorussian with his little smile. The ally and patron
is somewhere far away, behind an ocean. You have to run to make a phone call
and get instructions. People are openly chuckling when you tell them there is
no encirclement at Debaltsevo. They even ask you to leave the room so that
Putin, Merkel, and Hollande can speak. You can’t believe in the outcome of the
negotiations, and even tell the media that “all is lost.” A disaster.
But you still remember that your victory can easily be
transformed into treachery, and you yourself can be deprived of power and even
life. You have to save face, since you are not independent and don’t have any
genuine power. Your competitor in Dnepropetrovsk already opened a parallel
General Staff, and the efforts to disperse the Aidar failed completely. You
even destroyed the coalition when you tried to make your friend/godfather the
So it’s better not to return at all without an agreement. It’s
even more important not to return without an advantageous agreement. But there
isn’t one. Because they put in front of you a compromise, and you had to sign
Holland and Merkel are beaming, because the plan worked and
they believe in its implementation.
But only Lukashenko and Putin, and the DPR/LPR representatives
understand what’s really going on.
Can you imagine how Poroshenko is supposed to issue orders
to the Debaltsevo group after many of its officers had fled? If even Poltorak
says that there is no encirclement. How are the Ukrainian soldiers to return to
the demarcation line if they are encircled? Breaking out – means violating the
ceasefire, staying put means death and capitulation.
You break the ceasefire and Minsk-2 collapses. But try to
imagine how these measures are to be implemented.
First. Are the radicals going to agree to pay salaries to
the “supporters of terrorism” on Donbass? For them salary non-payment is a
victory over Putin.
Second. How do you intend to resurrect the Donbass special
status law, after it was voided by the radicals in the Rada?
Third. How is Poroshenko going to command the territorial
battalions and volunteer battalions, which are not under his control?
Fourth. How is he going to force his artillerymen to stop
shelling Donbass cities?
Fifth. How is Poroshenko going to explain the troop
The answer is simple. He won’t. The provisions of the Minsk
agreement are impossible to fulfill.
Incidentally, neither Kiev nor the republics plan to cancel
their mobilizations. Units will be brought back to strength, and the republics’
mobilization is going somewhat better than Kiev’s. The war will inevitably
continue, but the republics are in a better starting position than Kiev.
Therefore the outcome will be as follows: the ceasefire is
temporary and will be violated. It only extends the death throes of the Kiev
regime and of Ukraine as a state.
J.Hawk’s Comments: Lizan outlines Poroshenko’s quandary
quite well, but in fact the situation is even worse for him.
For starters, Poroshenko clearly expected that the Minsk
meeting would consist of The Leaders of the Free World (Poroshenko included)
bringing “Putler’s aggression” to heel.
Instead it turned out to be Vlad and Friends putting the
hurt on Poroshenko. From just observing the facial expressions and the body
language, it was clear that he was on the receiving end of some serious
pressure. Lavrov’s comment that the negotiations were going “better than super” was an early indication that Poroshenko walked into an ambush. What was the ambush intended to accomplish?
It would appear that Vlad’s Friends want Poroshenko to deal
firmly with the Party of War in Kiev. It must have dawned on Merkel and
Hollande (though the latter probably suspected this already) that the Kiev
junta’s survival plan consists solely of hoping to provoke a large-scale conflict
with Russia that would trigger a new Cold War on the European continent, and
result in Ukraine being an “advanced forpost of the Western civilization”, an
Israel of Eastern Europe of sorts, which in turn would mean billions and
billions of dollars of economic and military aid. And the junta has no other
plan. It never had any other plan. Its objective from the start was to provoke
Russia (starting with “FSB snipers on the Maidan” and the moves to transfer the
Sevastopol naval base to the US Navy) into doing something.
Well, they succeeded. Russia “did something”. It was only
then that they discovered their miscalculation—the West does not have billions
laying around to spend on cleptocratic Ukrainians with delusions of grandeur.
Undaunted, they continued to escalate the situation, until the Europeans
finally decided to step in, lest a full-scale great power war erupt on the
European continent. First they
apparently successfully convinced the Biden administration to kindly butt out
by categorically ruling out deliveries of weapons to Ukraine. Then they pulled
the plug on Kiev.
Poroshenko’s “mission impossible,” as it was evidently
communicated to him by Hollande and Merkel, is to rein in the “war party” in
Kiev by any means possible and then get on with destroying, excuse me,
reforming the Ukrainian economy, Greece-style. It’s no longer self-evident that
any violation of the ceasefire will be automatically blamed on Novorossia or
Russia, as it was in the past. It is totally self-evident that no IMF credits
will be forthcoming unless Poroshenko finally starts acting in a responsible
manner. Moreover, considering what conditions are invariably attached to IMF
credits, Ukraine’s ability to wage war will likely quickly decline due to the
draconian budget cuts. Whatever Yatsenyuk had planned for this year will likely
be significantly reduced if Yaresko is to convince Western donors Ukraine is
serious about cutting government spending, and at the moment defense is where
most of the money is.
So yes, by all means, try to put yourself into Poroshenko’s
shoes at this point. His best chance is to convince the “war party” that their
best chance is to help him stay in power. This line of argument has the benefit
of having considerable merit to it, because should the Right Sector/Turchinov/whoever topple Poroshenko, would the
new junta count on any support from the West?
Probably not, but do Yarosh and Turchinov realize it? The
assumption Poroshenko and other sponsors of the Maidan made in unleashing the
neo-Nazis on Ukraine’s political scene was that billions of dollars of Western
aid would improve the situation in the country to such an extent that these
movements would be starved of popular support. Instead, due to the
deteriorating situation and the two lost military campaigns, they are gaining
in strength, and their main enemy no longer is located in Donbass.