By Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
10th June, 2016
“The unpreparedness of the educated classes, the lack of practical links between them and the mass of the people, their laziness, and, let it be said, their cowardice at the decisive moment of the struggle will give rise to tragic mishaps.” ~ Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
With the news that the UN reported June 2016 as being the most devastating month for the civilians of Donbass since August 2015, the calls for Putin to launch a Blitzkrieg towards Kiev are also becoming louder. Armchair experts and those who say that Russia is in cahoots with the US in Syria, and that Putin will partition the Levant if it means the Rubles will flow in, accompany an ocean of hysterical melodramatic verbiage on how “Putin has betrayed Donbass”, or more precisely, Putin “flushed” Donbass.
This fundamentally flawed conclusion finds its home on Social Networks, naturally, as it is a place where people can commit a digital drive-by with impunity. Here is an example of a now defunct group on Facebook, which even went to such lengths as adding people (e.g. Graham Philips) without their consent to make the group seem more credible.
Here we can see this closed group of 143 members asserts that the Minsk Agreements are a “betrayal”. However, the group never actually explained why – only that it was somehow a “betrayal”.
Whilst it is important to distance oneself from such frankly ridiculous messages, it is also important to survey the sentiments that reside inside them to see how narratives can be twisted and sold to uninformed folk:
The above ‘genius’ claims that Putin “dumped” Donbass to the Junta, and that Putin moved onto Syria.
Putin is being compared to a man who embezzled money from donations and betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Apparently it was Putin & co who fired artillery and mortars, and dropped munitions on the citizens of Donbass, or the Kremlin found the UAF’s actions funny…
Putin is being reprimanded for not “making a statement”…
Two thirds of the Russians in an ersatz poll think that Putin betrayed Donbass. One third think that Putin did… https://t.co/x9zwmGIKqL
— Vladimir Suchan (@SuchanVladimir) June 7, 2016
They’re in the process of handing Donbass to Nazis, betrayed Libya, Yugo–is there anything the Putin clique aren’t willing to hand America?
— Phil Greaves (@PhilGreaves01) April 15, 2016
— Steve H (@OctDalby) March 29, 2016
The above examples are unfortunately only the tip of the iceberg, but to paraphrase: Russia should send T-14’s to Kiev.
Let’s briefly imagine a scenario where Putin has granted their wish: he sends not only tanks into Donbass, but also a grouping of soldiers greater than that in Syria, the latest 2S35 Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled artillery, and TOS-1A. These weapons then cross the border, violating International Law, add fuel to the fratricide fire, massacre the Ukrainian soldiers who are used as cannon fodder by Washington, and cause more civilian casualties than both Gulf Wars combined. As if this prospective bloodshed isn’t heinous enough, imagine the message this would be sending to Russia’s allies around the globe…
To augment Russia’s image as a monster during this totally illegal incursion, the Western media would launch an information campaign that would make the current one in Syria look ‘moderate’ (pun intended), and this time they would be justified: Russia shouldn’t be massacring ordinary citizens, regardless if they have a helmet and rifle or not. Multipolarity promotes dialogue, NOT destruction!
In this fictitious scenario, there is absolutely no difference between what the US did in Iraq, murdering over a million civilians, and what Russia would be doing in Donbass. Hey, maybe Putin can throw some Tupolevs into the mix to eviscerate Ukraine as we know it? Kill everyone!
Parallels with Syria
The MSM’s behavior in regards to Russia’s campaign in Syria has been nothing short of a whitewash. There are instances where deliberate disinformation has appeared when Russia’s jets were still in the hanger, western media using footage from Russia’s Ministry of Defence and claiming it as the Pentagon’s own, and absurd claims that Russia is using White Phosphorus in Aleppo.
Al Jazeera’s mythical tales about Russia bombing civilians in Deir Ezzor.
Reuters psychological operation to imply civilians are fleeing Russia’s bombs.
BBC claims Russia killed 200 civilians, citing Amnesty International.
CNN uses the phoney Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to aid its propaganda.
Using the videos above as a reference point, it isn’t hard to imagine how the MSM would react if Putin marched to Kiev – he would be walking straight into a trap.
Is Minsk a “betrayal”?
If one thing rings true in geopolitics, it is that things are never ever black and white. And in the age of the Internet and truncated communication signals, simulacrum distorts and blurs the realities and models that are actually deeply ingrained in the State’s decision making process.
As warfare is only one part of something much greater in terms of a State both internally and externally, this idea that military activity solves ‘everything’ is illogical and sadistic at best. Who will fund the war? How will the stock market react? Can PR help convince the tax payer that its justified? Will the United Nations issue a mandate? Will allies support any incursion? Can the war have a boomerang effect? The questions and variables are almost infinite…
The fact is that Putin did not ‘intervene’ in Donbass, and he isn’t likely to either. Instead, he tied the conflict to the UN Security Council, where a document was produced that outlined 13 steps to deescalate the conflict. Did Russia suspect that Kiev would not comply and drag its heels? Probably, but as long as the Novorossiyan Armed Forces complied (and they did), it would be obvious to all who is interested in peace and who is not. This is part of the reason why the OSCE was injected into the equation, to help swing the narrative in favour of Kiev.
Whilst we can google “Minsk Agreements” and see that all the articles asking to scrap the agreements are pro-western, in order to objectively assess whether or not the Minsk Agreements were a “betrayal” to the people and armies of Donbass, we must first look at the text of the agreement and assess which points have been fulfilled and which ones have not:
- Immediate and full ceasefire in particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts of Ukraine and its strict fulfilment as of 00:00 midnight EET on 15 February 2015. ❌
[Notes: On February 15th, 2015, France & Germany declared that the ceasefire was being “observed in general”, while the OSCE declared that there was widespread implementation apart from in Debaltsevo and Lugansk. However, the ceasefire (if there ever was one) has been in tatters ever since. The Deputy Defence Minister of the DPR reports hundreds of UAF violations daily.]
- Pull-out of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creation of a security zone on minimum 50 kilometres (31 mi) apart for artillery of 100mm calibre or more, and a security zone of 70 kilometres (43 mi) for multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and 140 kilometres (87 mi) for MLRS Tornado-S, Uragan, Smerch, and Tochka U tactical missile systems:
- for Ukrainian troops, from actual line of contact;
- for armed formations of particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts of Ukraine, from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014.
- The pullout of the above-mentioned heavy weapons must start no later than the second day after the start of the ceasefire and finish within 14 days.
- This process will be assisted by OSCE with the support of the Trilateral Contact Group. ❌
[Notes: Zakharchenko stated in February 2015 that the NAF had moved 90% of their weaponry from the contact line, and the OSCE confirmed that the NAF had withdrawn their arms in time. However, in May 2015, according to the OSCE 122mm artillery (banned under Minsk) had been fired on Gorlovka, killing 3 civilians. Graham Philips interviewed the family of one of the victims and asked where the shelling came from. The reply was Dzerzhinsk – Ukrainian held territory.]
- Effective monitoring and verification of ceasefire regime and pullout of heavy weapons by OSCE will be provided from the first day of pullout, using all necessary technical means such as satellites, drones, radio-location systems etc. ✅
[Notes: The OSCE SMM did their job, but their reports were (and still are) rather biased, focusing on the NAF and the artillery they supposedly didn’t withdraw.]
- On the first day after the pullout a dialogue is to start on modalities of conducting local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian legislation and the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts,” and also about the future of these districts based on the above-mentioned law. ❌
[Notes: Denis Pushilin stated on June 16th, 2016, “Unfortunately, there is no progress in the work of the political subgroup. There is our position and there is the Ukrainian position – they are completely opposite, no compromise has been reached. That’s why there is no talk about elections this year.”]
- Without delays, but no later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution has to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, indicating the territory which falls under the special regime in accordance with the law “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts,” based in the line set up by the Minsk Memorandum as of 19 September 2014. ❌
[Notes: On March 17, 2015, the Rada declared the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts as “temporarily occupied territories”. Thus, Donbass cannot have special statues until elections are conducted according to Ukrainian law. In addition, points 2-9 cannot be fulfilled until there are snap elections.]
- Provide pardon and amnesty by way of enacting a law that forbids persecution and punishment of persons in relation to events that took place in particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts of Ukraine. ❌
[Notes: Chairman of the upper house committee for constitutional law Andrey Klishas, commenting on the law passed by the Rada stated: “Fighters of the LPR and DPR are not included in the categories listed in the law. Therefore, they were excluded from the Amnesty… The act does not fully meet the requirements of the Minsk agreements, which provides for Amnesty for all individuals involved in the events in the LPR and DPR.” In fact, the law passed by the Rada states the DPR/LPR soldiers are committing acts of a terrorist nature.]
- Provide release and exchange of all hostages and illegally held persons, based on the principle of “all for all”. This process has to end – at the latest – on the fifth day after the pullout (of weapons). ❌
[Notes: According to Minsk, the return of prisoners should be completed, at the latest, on the fifth day after the military withdrawal. This never happened.]
- Provide safe access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian aid to the needy, based on an international mechanism. ❌
[Notes: Poroshenko ordered the creation of checkpoints and general blockades to prevent medicine, food, and general humanitarian aid from reaching the region.]
- Define the modalities of a full restoration of social and economic connections, including social transfers, such as payments of pensions and other payments (income and revenue, timely payment of communal bills, restoration of tax payments within the framework of Ukrainian legal field).
- With this aim, Ukraine will restore management over the segment of its banking system in the districts affected by the conflict, and possibly, an international mechanism will be established to ease such transactions.❌
[Notes: See #7]
- Restore control of the state border to the Ukrainian government in the whole conflict zone, which has to start on the first day after the local election and end after the full political regulation (local elections in particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts based on the law of Ukraine and Constitutional reform) by the end of 2015, on the condition of fulfillment of Point 11 – in consultations and in agreement with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. ❌
[Notes: By declaring Donbass as “occupied territories”, Kiev violated #9 and thus the process of elections was disrupted.]
- Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision. Disarmament of all illegal groups. ❌
[Notes: No comment needed.]
- Constitutional reform in Ukraine, with a new constitution to come into effect by the end of 2015, the key element of which is decentralisation (taking into account peculiarities of particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts, agreed with representatives of these districts), and also approval of permanent legislation on the special status of particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts in accordance with the measures spelt out in the attached footnote,[note 1] by the end of 2015. ❌
- Based on the Law of Ukraine “On temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Lugansk Oblasts”, questions related to local elections will be discussed and agreed upon with representatives of particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. Elections will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by OSCE/ODIHR. ❌
- Intensify the work of the Trilateral Contact Group including through the establishment of working groups on the implementation of relevant aspects of the Minsk agreements. They will reflect the composition of the Trilateral Contact Group. ❌
[Notes: Alongside the other Minsk failures by Kiev, it is safe to say that the political process has been sabotaged.]
So in summary: Kiev hasn’t fulfilled any points of Minsk aside from letting the OSCE loose, whose biased reports are not the fault of Russia. The opportunity was there for Kiev to end the conflict and establish peace, but they refused to take it, and instead only complicated matters further by hindering the political process. Moving the howitzers and artillery/tanks away from the contact line was the easiest part, yet they couldn’t even do that.
Do you realise what you have done?
So the question is – why did Russia propose an agreement if they knew Kiev’s signature wasn’t worth the paper is was printed on? To answer this, we simply need to remember what multipolarity is all about. As they say in chess: “No one has ever won a game of chess by taking only forward moves.”
Russia’s role today is to teach others how things should be, and that there are no ‘exceptional’ ones. In order to end the lawlessness that has been and still is rampant in the US Senate, someone needed to step up the plate and remind others that one’s actions and words must correlate; that they must be resilient in insisting ‘partners’ follow the letter of the law, even during relapses of commitment. If someone’s signature is added to a document, it must stand for something.
It’s not terrorism when we do it
It is of paramount importance to understand that statements demanding the bombing of Kiev, Donbass to be littered with tanks, Spetsnaz, and artillery, and for a military column to march North are no different to the statements seen over the last 10 years from people who deem Chris Kyle to be a hero.
It is all too convenient to become a cheerleader for war, but the last to actually fight in one. Will their children or relatives be marching to Kiev? Of course not, it will be someone else’s mother who will have to identify their son at the morgue.
In actuality, the people who beg Russia to commit genocide are in fact aligning themselves with the US’ version of ‘International Law’, with Iraq post 2004 being a case in point.
These online war-mongerers have the audacity to cyber-mourn the victims of the UAF war crimes, posting pictures of dead civilians in Donbass, and shedding hypocritical tears – ‘all for the cause’. They are feeding the Atlanticist Divide and Conquer narrative that someone born in Kiev and someone born in Donetsk are somehow different people – that they are not brothers.
Just remember that not every Ukrainian supports the so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation, decommunization bill, and the general status of being a US vassal. Journalist Ruslan Kotsaba is a prime example of someone who was pro-maidan but realised the error of his ways.
It is also important to recognise physical extermination does not destroy an ideology, but asking existential ontological questions is a good place to start. Washington’s aim was to incite Ukrainians to kill their own – the same thing the US did in the Arabic world.
Let’s see who in Ukraine really wants peace, and who doesn’t…