Looks like Ukraine is increasingly finds himself a whipping boy. If the European foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier dictating to us how to fulfill the Minsk agreements, in particular to prepare for elections in the occupied Donbass, now in fact, such a requirement was made from the strategic partner of the US, assistant Secretary of state Victoria Nuland at a hearing of the Senate Committee on foreign Affairs of the USA on the topic: «Ukrainian reforms — two years after the revolution on the Maidan and the Russian invasion», which took place on 15 March.
And this despite the fact that everyone understands that there it is impossible to hold elections without a ceasefire, diversion of arms, ensure full monitoring of the occupied territories and the Ukrainian-Russian border by the OSCE mission, the withdrawal of Russian troops and militants, as well as the return of the Ukrainian control over the border.
Moreover, assistant Secretary Nuland was heard the ultimatum from the United States to actually cease support of Ukraine, if the country has not overcome the political crisis. «The ability of the United States and the international community to continue to support Ukraine depends on the attitude of its leaders to put the Ukrainian people and the country in the first place. Having greater unity and leadership, 2016-th year may be the year when Ukraine will be freed from the unholy Union of dirty money and dirty politics, which robbed the Ukrainian people for a long period. Without this, Ukraine will slide back to the corruption, lawlessness and vassal to the state,» said Deputy Secretary of state.
President of the Center for global studies «Strategy XXI» Mykhailo Honchar believes that this statement Nuland is nothing new. Just what previously mentioned non-public, got into the public plane. «The American side is lacking the realization that the Russian aggression against Ukraine continues. And the United States in this situation, when trying to support Ukraine, accusing its leadership of failure to implement reforms, should contribute to ensuring the external conditions for the promotion or optimization of reforms,» he said.
«The fact that our internal problems are inflated and artificially stimulated externally, the aggressor, and we, unfortunately, do not see a fundamentally tough U.S. stance against the aggressor. To put pressure on the weak, in this case Ukraine, is very easy and hard is not necessary, and may press on Russia. And they don’t do» — said the expert.
«And a recent interview Obama just characterized by the fact that, essentially, the USA in the person of the head of the White house, one hand helping the Ukraine, but lethal weapons from them, we did not wait, and the other hand is not opposing Russian aggression, not for the sake of Ukraine, and the resumption of international order, in essence, occupy the position of passive assistance to the aggressor, — said Gonchar. — And the acting methods of hybrid war, balloons internal squabbles in Ukraine. And this is one reason why we have such a situation of internal chaos in Ukraine.»
«As to the six ways by which the US can defeat Russia and to strengthen Ukraine that these hearings have listed senior research fellow Centre Brent Scowcroft Atlantic Council international security Ian Brzezinski. With all these points it is difficult to disagree. But when it comes to sanctions, they should not be selective, and sanctions Iranian sample,» he said.
According to Honchar, Ukrainian authorities also need to understand that the war is not over. «If the Donbass is less fire compared to 2014, this does not mean that you can catch your breath and to continue their plundering. We now see that, in fact, there was a rebirth of power, which was the same oligarchic, where it had been before the revolution of dignity, just different personalities at the helm. But if the aggressor will continue to implement their plans, then this authority is under a double blow: external, for Russia any leadership of Ukraine will remain a tool of influence and internal discontent of the population, which is growing and could escalate into protests», — the expert believes. This writes Nikolai Ciroc in the article «the Weak position of the West encourages the aggressor» in the newspaper «Day».
During a recent phone conversation, U.S. President Barack Obama once again reminded the President of Russia Vladimir Putin that the hybrid Russian-separatist forces in the Donbas must comply with the agreement on ceasefire in the Donbass, and to provide the OSCE unhindered access to controlled separatist territories, including on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Appeals by the U.S. President coincided with the plans of the Deputy Chairman of the SMM OSCE in Europe, Alexander hug to visit the occupied part of the Donbas this week. Mr Hg 16-20 March, plans to visit the occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk to assess the security situation and to support efforts to normalize the situation.
Obviously, not having the confidence that the militants of the so-called «DNR» and «LNR» will allow it along with the observers and journalists on objects of interest to them (most likely the separatists will be limited to demonstration of «Potemkin villages» that are free from heavy weapons and «victims of the Nazis»), Mr Hg on the eve of a «peace Declaration», emphasizing the responsibility of both parties to the conflict.
So, despite a significant deterioration of the situation in the Donbass, in particular, violent fighting in the area of the Town, the BBC didn’t mention this town. According to him, Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists should move further away from the separation line in the Donbass. After all, according to the mission, the distance between the parties to the conflict in some places reduced to hundreds of meters.
While the OSCE observers claim a reduction in the intensity of the shelling around Donetsk, the headquarters of the ATO, on the contrary, have reported active rebels had rocket-propelled grenades, mortars, even tanks occasionally on Donetsk and Mariupol directions.
To guarantee the right to unimpeded access to observers, Mr Hg recognizes that the militants control 90% of all territories to which the OSCE can not yet get. You can be sure that the OSCE delegation will not fall, for example, in Dokuchayevsk, where the other day, according to the Ukrainian intelligence, arrived one hundred fighters of special purpose units of the Russian armed forces. But don’t be surprised if some sort of convoy of the OSCE will be taken on the day under the provocative attack, specially trained fighters on the occasion of the visit of Mr. hug in the Donetsk and Lugansk. Look how «fennel» fly into a rage …
The first informational provocations by the enemy already has: the militants of the so-called «DNR» circulated in the Russian media about the fake firing «the Punisher» of the group of Russian and Chinese journalists in zaytsevo, near Gorlovka.
«They argue that AFU used mortars, grenade launchers and small arms. This pseudoroot, unfortunately, circulated and Ukrainian media. Officially declare that under Zaitsev on the contrary, a worsening from fighters — according to the press center of the ATO. Ukrainian military strictly adhere to the Minsk agreements and not open fire. Therefore, all reports of alleged shelling of zaytsevo is the next planned provocation of the Russian mercenaries». This writes Ivan Boyko in the article «the Enemy is close, you can quarrel» in the newspaper «Ukraina Moloda».
The statement of Vladimir Putin about the withdrawal of troops from Syria forced to think seriously not only the parties to the conflict in the middle East, but the Ukrainian leadership, and experts are already talking about a possible offensive of Russia to the Donbas. In the actually failed the Minsk agreements, which was not going to follow Russia, once again, to undermine the already fragile peace in the East for Putin is simple. Given the approaching date of the next renewal of the EU sanctions, it may become the subject of blackmail in the hands of the Kremlin. And, according to some Western experts, in the context of internal threats to the EU and migration crisis, the possible exit of Britain from the EU and the Eurozone crisis, European leaders may again go on about Putin.
Research fellow of the Royal Institute of international Affairs James Sherr believes that the problem is that the West is so weakened by new challenges and threats, and so divided that, at the present time much less the collective will and confidence to effectively confront Russia. «And because of these reasons, and also because of the risk of withdrawal of Britain from the EU (on the possible outcome of the referendum – Ed.), migration crisis in the Eurozone… because Of all these reasons Ukraine has reason to worry that our (West – Ed.) support will be effective. But not because of any secret agreements,» he explains.
«On the other hand, we will continue to say the right things that will not be supported in practice. The attitude and the practical implementation of the Minsk agreements is a good evidence. Had a lovely time in November to say: well, Russia is the main violator of Minsk agreements, and we will support Ukrainian colleagues and President Poroshenko more effectively. It was a beautiful moment, we had all the legal grounds in the Treaty (Minsk agreements – Ed.). But we did not do» — said Sherr.
«And, of course, no one should forget the importance of all possibilities (of Russia – Ed.) in Crimea, which play a role in Syria, and will also play an important role in the Donbas. One area where Ukraine and the West may be surprised, – running naval operations against Ukraine in the direction of Mariupol, he said. — I’m not saying that these things will happen. All I suggest, the possibility that all these things can happen in the next six months. And this should be taken very seriously.»
«There are reasons why this can happen. First, because the West are divided today, and the weakness of the West sees Russia. In June, the EU should take the decision to extend the sanctions. If the EU decides not to renew the sanctions, then the President will be Putin’s confirmation that Western unity is no more, — he explains. Russians may love President Putin. But they do not like United Russia. Now Russian people are suffering. Not as Ukrainians. But in Russia for the last year has been a real decline in living standards, social benefits, services, and people feel it. So Putin has another incentive to change the game, demonstrating to the audience: «See how I protect the interests of Russia. See how powerful the West is running away from me.» So when you put these two factors together, you see that we are approaching a critical moment. They will make it (will attack Russia – Ed.), or not I cannot predict. No one can predict».
According to Serra, Russia has never fulfilled its commitments under the Minsk agreements. At the same time, Russia insists that Ukraine has fulfilled all his part of the obligations and, frankly, these obligations are much broader. Because the Minsk agreement is written in a completely incomprehensible language. «The longer the leaders of the so-called «LNR» and «DNR» they will say that you know a special status: full autonomy, we do what we want; we have our own trade policy; we have our own national militia and the security system; we decide who will provide security at the border; and, finally, we will have the right of veto in the Parliament on any steps in foreign and security policy of Ukraine… You can say that even after 30 years in this way no common language will not. President, would you not say that he is not perfect, never will not agree. Today’s problem is a reflection of the weakness of the West,» he says.
«The whole conflict started not because of NATO, but because of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. Yanukovych stopped the process of moving Ukraine into NATO, securing the non-aligned status. He clearly said that all he wants is the Association Agreement. And what happened: Russia said it is unacceptable. Because Moscow considers the EU a bigger threat than NATO, and they do not want to see Ukraine not in NATO or the EU, explains Sherr. They don’t even want to see Ukraine closer to EU and NATO. Russia had enormous pressure on the Pro-Russian President, whom ever had the Ukraine ( Yanukovych– Ed.), which led to the Maidan and everything else. The question is for Ukraine to preserve its right and ability to make decisions independently. Here’s what we need. In practice, war or no war, none of the 28 member States of NATO do not have the appetite for the foreseeable future to see Ukraine in NATO. And it doesn’t matter. Important as our political and military assistance to help Ukraine more effectively to resist Russian aggression».
«If you ask me whether we should provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, the answer is Yes. But I also immediately add: only lethal weapons unreformed Armed forces of Ukraine will be limited. What is really needed is a systematic programme to enhance the Ukrainian defense industry — said Sherr. And when it comes to weapons is the key here – the ability to maintain the integrity of your military communication, and modernization. For example, the last occurrence we saw that the Russian military can immediately see when someone is talking on the phone, to determine where the signal and immediately bombard the area. Ukraine needs a complex system of military communications, and it is not a lethal weapon». Write about it Zelenyuk Christine Doroshenko Oleg in the article «Russia may deploy offensive on Mariupol from the sea» – an interview with the British expert James Serra» in the newspaper «Today».
March 17. Press review. The crisis in the EU against the crisis of Minsk 17.03.2016