Deciphering the Donbass Escalation: Part 3 – Poroshenko’s Last Offensive


February 9, 2017 – Fort Russ – 

By Eduard Popov – translated by J. Arnoldski –

Continued from Part 2 

Among political analysts, one can meet more than a few theories on the ongoing developments in Donbass. I for one have repeatedly expressed my opinions in interviews with Russian media and for Fort Russ.

Allow me to quote my article published on Fort Russ on January 10th: “It can be presumed that the Ukrainians’ intensification of activities in the “ATO” zone is directly connected to Trump’s victory. In Ukraine, many known figures directly tied to the UAF and political circles feared the possibility of Donald Trump winning the US presidential elections. Since Trump’s victory has become a fait accompli, the Ukrainians expect serious, if not fundamental changes in American policy towards Ukraine. I think that the Ukrainians will attempt to drag the new American administration onto their side. To this end, a series of military provocations which will take place at the very beginning of (or just before) Trump’s inauguration (January 20th) are in order. Even better for the Ukrainians would be if these provocations would affect Russia and thereby give the Russophobic lobby in US political and military circles the occasion to accuse our country of aggression and put pressure on Trump”.

I am convinced that Donald Trump’s staff is well aware of the state of affairs in Ukraine, aware of the kleptocracy of the Ukrainian pseudo-elite, and the rampant neo-Nazism. And yet the Ukrainian authorities’ temptation to try to put Russia and the US at loggerheads and derail the two countries’ rapprochement is too strong.  

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Just how successful has Poroshenko’s plan to provoke the new White house boss to take anti-Russian views and steps?Let us purposefully set this question to the side for now and point to another reason behind the escalation of fighting in Donbass, namely, the domestic political factor. In a recent article, I wrote in detail on the anti-Poroshenko front being formed by Ukrainian oligarchs (Pinchuk and Firtash, for example) and the “uncrowned king of Transcarpathia,” the oligarch and shadow leader Viktor Baloga. A campaign against Poroshenko is being openly waged and he is now threatened with overthrow by the oligarchs and their allied forces. Parallel to this, a military conspiracy is brewing in the ranks of the UAF and among the leading Ukrainian neo-Nazi battalions. A disintegration of the ruling parliamentary coalition of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc is underway, which threatens early parliamentary elections. Add to this the fact that this year Ukraine will have to pay back a colossal sum plus interest for loans: 240,897 billion hryvnia (around $9 billion). Ukraine has nowhere from which to take this money. The only source would be yet another, new IMF loan.

Thus, Poroshenko has gained only tactical, not strategic successes by unleashing an offensive in Donbass. First of all, the whole world is tired of the Ukrainian authorities who are discrediting themselves with constant theft and incompetence. Secondly, thanks to independent journalism in the likes of Fort Russ and The Greanville Post and social media, the truth of what is happening in Donbass is gradually reaching Western readers. In addition, at the time of this article’s writing, the premier of the documentary film “The Frontline City of Donetsk” (Frontstadt Donezk) by the German journalist Mark Bartalmai, who lived in Donetsk for two years, is opening. Thirdly, thanks to combined efforts, even the OSCE is now sometimes recognizing the aggressive plans of the Ukrainian side.

As a result, Ukraine and its illegitimate President Poroshenko have not succeeded in instilling Western public opinion with the illusion of “Russian aggression” or aggression by “Donbass separatists.” While overall Western society continues to remain largely pro-Ukrainian in its views on events in Donbass, this view is not so one-sided and biased as the Ukrainian oligarch president Poroshenko would like. I hope that I am not wrong in my assessment.

In the circumstances of almost open preparations for overthrowing President Poroshenko and impending financial and economic collapse, Poroshenko has no other exit than unleashing a new war in the hope of attaining a favorable outcome. But the most important goal of his is gaining the favor of the new US President. Therefore, military successes in Donbass are not the main goal or even the most significant aspect of the recent offensive.

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Ukraine is frozen on the threshold of internal upheavals, and the situation in Donbass is becoming a factor that is not disposing of, but merely procrastinating an intra-Ukrainian political war which threatens the defeat and destruction of President Petro Poroshenko. 

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