Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine Goes to War – and Always Will as Long as Maidan Holds Power

by Alexander Mercouris for Russia Insider

As the economic situation in Ukraine goes from bad to worse the response of the Ukrainian government's attention is focused instead on resuming the war in the Donbass.

Over the last few weeks we have heard boasts from President Poroshenko that the combat capabilities of the Ukrainian military have been fully restored since its defeat last summer and that all its losses in armour (according to Poroshenko 65% of the total with which the Ukrainian army started its offensive in June) have been made good. We have also had a succession of mobilisation decrees calling up a grand total of 250,000 men in three waves extending to June.

All of this has been accompanied with the usual fiery rhetoric against Russia and the people in the Donbass the Ukrainian government calls “separatists” or “terrorists”.

Meanwhile a tragic shelling of a bus near Volnovakha has been blamed by the government on the rebels, leading to staged protests attended by government officials in Kiev and elsewhere.

The sequel has been a renewal of the fighting on a scale unseen since the Minsk Protocol was signed on 5th September 2014. Over the course of the fighting the rebels appear to have captured the new terminal of Donetsk airport (they already held the old terminal), a Ukrainian counter attack to recapture the new terminal contrary to Ukrainian reports appears to have failed, at least for the moment, there has been renewed shelling across the whole front, including indiscriminate shelling of Donetsk, an air raid was launched on the rebel held town of Gorlovka and the rebels for their part have shelled government positions near Mariupol.

How did we get to this position?

The short answer is that the Ukrainian government has refused to carry out the peace process it committed itself to in the Minsk Protocol. The constitutional negotiations that were supposed to happen and which the government committed itself to in the Minsk Protocol and which were supposed to lead to a final settlement of the Ukrainian conflict have never taken place.

The Minsk Protocol also committed the government to extensive decentralisation of the Donbass preliminary to a final peace settlement and to elections there. The elections duly took place but the government did not recognise them or their outcome and though the Ukrainian parliament passed a law for the decentralisation of the Donbass, the Ukrainian government then almost immediately reversed it.

Previously, back in September, I discussed the Minsk Protocol in detail here, where I said

“…..the Protocol is in my opinion a total red herring. The Protocol is not a contract or treaty. There is no court or tribunal that will arbitrate on the meaning of its words. All the sides will construe it as they wish. The junta will not of course construe it as I have done and nor will its western backers even though my interpretation is undoubtedly the correct one. The junta will continue to call the NAF (the “Novorossian Armed Forces” - AM) “terrorists” and will continue to deny they are the representatives of the Donbas whether they win the election or not. Certainly the junta will not recognise an election the NAF wins or any declaration of independence the NAF makes. For what it’s worth in my opinion there is little chance of the terms of such an election being agreed upon or such an election taking place whilst the Donbas remains part of the Ukraine”.

Complete story at - The Vineyard of the Saker: Ukraine Goes to War – and Always Will as Long as Maidan Holds Power

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