September 12, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
–Ostexperte.de, translated from German by Tom Winter –
No solution in sight for the Donbass conflict
It is to weep. Russia’s President Putin makes finally a sensible proposal on how the conflict in Ukraine can be defused – by deploying armed UN peacekeepers along the front line between separatists and Ukrainian government troops – and it is immediately stifled by Ukraine and a pro-Ukrainian mood in the West.
A guest contribution by Alexander Rahr*
Kiev is against Putin’s UN peace-keeping proposal – for several reasons. Firstly, Kiev fears a permanent freeze of the conflict with the support of the UN. Kiev wants ultimately to return the breakaway areas, it strictly rejects provisional measures.
Secondly, Kiev does not want to talk with the separatists. In any case, the pro-Russian rebels should receive no international recognition. An amnesty for the pro-Russian fighters, as provided in the Minsk Agreements, will not happen with Kiev.
And thirdly, Kiev is calling for the deployment of the UN-Blue Helmets not only to the front line, but also to the Russian border to the renegade Donbass so that they can stop any military support from Moscow to the separatists.
Russia says a surrender of the control of its border to East Ukraine at Kiev or UN-Blue Helmets can only be done when the Ukrainian central government gives renegade Donbass the promised partial autonomy. Kiev won’t hear of it, although it was set forth in the Minsk Agreement.
Supported by Federal Foreign Minister Gabriel
Federal Foreign Minister Gabriel greeted Putin’s proposal as an initiative in the right direction, a glimmer of hope for a peace settlement in the Eastern Ukraine. He was then massively attacked by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister and the Ukrainian Ambassador in Germany, contrary to all diplomatic practices. The pro-Ukrainian community in the German media and social networks also spurned Gabriel’s statements. No one shielded Gabriel.
Shortly afterwards, Merkel’s government spokeswoman stepped in. She spoke out on the one hand for the Blue Helmet idea, but at the same time supported all of the Ukrainian reservations. Gabriel was disavowed by the Chancellor, although in her annual press conference this summer, Merkel herself had talked about the need for an all-European approach to Russia.
Kiev hopes for support from the US
The peace chance is thus lost. The fronts continue to harden. Too bad. Without compromise – no progress. Why don’t you think of the poor people in the Eastern Ukraine, who are dying every day? It would be important to give them a new life perspective. Even with UN help.
Why not follow the timetable of the Minsk negotiations, which clearly defined the order of the necessary measures – initially armistice at the front, then autonomous status for the Donbass, finally handing over the border control between Russia and the apostates to Kiev. Signed is signed.
The answer is obvious. Ukraine is now hoping for new military support from the US. Kiev observed with satisfaction the escalation of the conflict between Moscow and Washington. And believes that the international pressure on Russia is now so strong that Russia is giving up and losing.
The Minsk process thus becomes history, obsolete.
Russia should not be underestimated
Serious analysis warns against such short-sighted thinking. With all understanding of the wishes of the Ukrainians and some Western politicians to inflict a painful defeat in Ukraine and to strike at it, this reckoning will not go down.
Such a behavior carries risks that Russia will consider itself provoked and asymmetrically dealt with. The Ukrainian army and the separatists supported by Russia are now equally strong. If the US equipped the Ukrainian army with heavy weapons, Moscow would logically also upgrade for the rebels. The prevailing thinking in the West — that Russia is no longer the Soviet Union, and thus is inferior to West — is wrong.
Take Putin’s proposal seriously
Realistically, the UN Security Council should take Putin’s proposal as the basis for a resolution that undoubtedly takes into account the interests of the Ukrainian side, but ultimately, in the sense of what Gabriel said, finally brings Europe closer to a solution in the Ukraine conflict.
The government of Ukraine must do its utmost to bring over its own population in the eastern part of the country, which is interested in close relations with Russia. The economic blockade against the Donbass is a mistake. The recently passed law on the exile of the Russian language from the national educational institutions is also a wrong-way pathway.
Hopefully, the [German] federal government will continue uphold the Minsk process as firmly as it did before.
*Author of several books on Russian topics, e.g:
- Gorbatschow – der neue Mann. Universitas-Verlag, 1986, ISBN 3-8004-1107-5.
- Wladimir Putin. Der Deutsche im Kreml. Universitas-Verlag, 2000, ISBN 978-3800414086.
- Russland gibt Gas. Hanser-Wirtschaft, 2008, ISBN 9783446413955.
- Putin nach Putin. Universitas-Verlag, 2009, ISBN 9783800414819.
- Der kalte Freund. Warum wir Russland brauchen: die Insider-Analyse. Hanser-Wirtschaft, München 2011, ISBN 978-3-446-42438-8.