Americans believe that weak Ukraine outplayed strong Russia.
Four years ago, on January 21, 2015, urgent negotiations of the ministers of foreign affairs of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine were held in Berlin, which developed the principles of the future Minsk-2. The final document was agreed on February 11–12 of the same year in the capital of Belarus.
Already then it was clear that Poroshenko says not what he thinks or plans. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on the eve of the Berlin meeting, he said: “The territorial integrity of my country is an absolute priority for me, as is the world, but at the same time I understand that there is no military solution to this conflict.”
People on both sides of the conflict breathed a sigh of relief, but instead of the promised peace, active hostilities resumed in the Donbas. It was not a bell that sounded, about the real alarm, that Minsk-2 was doomed to failure. Of course, you can say that the back mind is all strong. But Kremlin experts and political scientists are being paid a salary for correct predictions, and not for chattering in front of television cameras.
Today, according to the Ukrainian side, about 7 thousand soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and soldiers of the Defense of the DPR and LPR died in the Donbas. Also, the official victims were 3,000 civilians, and about a million more people left their homes.
Of course, these deaths and misfortunes could have been much less if the conflict had been extinguished back in 2014, according to the Center for the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts at George Mason University (USA). The article devoted to the 4th anniversary of “Minsk-2”, published in the Divergent Options edition, suggests that the Kremlin could have prevented the negative scenario if it repeated the success of the five-day war in the spring of 2014. 08.08.08.
Sarah Martin, the author of the publication, tried to ignore political sympathies and be as objective as possible. Apparently, the task was set to study the confrontation in the Donbass “under a microscope” solely for the scientific purposes of conflict management. Such studies are fundamentally different from propaganda opus and are needed for a more accurate prediction of similar conflicts in the future.
Perhaps, for the first time in the American press, a more or less objective assessment was given: – The current conflict in Ukraine involves two main players: the central government of Kiev and the sector under the self-name Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR). It also speaks of the active support of Ukraine from the United States, NATO and the EU, and the DNR and LNR – Russia.
The essence of the conflict boils down to Kiev’s desire to preserve its territorial integrity and sovereignty, while the DNR and the LNR “do not want to be independent states, but plan to unite with the Russian Federation, since they consider themselves an ethno-linguistic minority with closer ties with Russians than with Ukrainian-speaking fellow citizens”. In total, the military confrontation will soon “celebrate a bitter date – 5 years of civil war.”
At the same time, conflictology, as a political science, believes that in Ukraine only “determining the winner can be the key to a long-term cease-fire.” Without this, no agreements will work, including the Minsk-2, as well as subsequent acts. It’s just that the sides have no points of contact. Meanwhile, the August 2008 agreement between Moscow and Tbilisi has been in force for more than 10 years, saving the lives of thousands of people and their homeland – hundreds of thousands.
Sarah Martin rightly sees common causes between the multi-year conflict in the Donbas and the short-term war 08.08.08. There and there are sharp ethnolinguistic contradictions and the geopolitical interests of the powerful centers of power — the United States and Russia — are visible. Moscow, by the way, interferes as much as Washington does.
However, “despite the similarities, one war ended quickly, and the other continues without the slightest hint of de-escalation in the near future.” On the one hand, Russian troops broke into the South Ossetian border into Georgia, after which peace came. On the other hand, Moscow did not dare to use force in Ukraine and, as a result, people are dying.
Another thing is curious: the Americans believe that Russia did not invade Ukraine and did not reach Kiev in a matter of days just because it did not have the same strong army on the western border as in the Caucasus.
Say, on the eve of the events 08.08.08. The Kremlin correctly assessed the possible development of the situation on the southern borders and held large-scale exercises for four years. As a result, – Moscow was ready for battle, having responded with overwhelming force, and after a few days took aim at Tbilisi. And Georgia (like Ukraine) overestimated the willingness of the West to intervene.
– The conflict was quickly settled in view of a clear victory, – notes the Center for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. The European Union represented by the head of Nicolas Sarkozy was forced to persuade the then President Medvedev to withdraw troops from Georgia in exchange for the status quo of North Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Kremlin had excellent negotiating positions, while the West wanted to preserve Tbilisi’s sovereignty by making concessions.
This did not happen with Ukraine largely because Moscow had the illusion that the militia of the DPR and the LPR themselves would cope with the APU, as it was, for example, in Debaltseve. By and large, the Kremlin and the Russian expert community made a mistake, predicting the self-collapse of Ukraine. Meanwhile, precious time was lost. It is one thing when our army would have reacted to the shooting of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Mariupol and the burning of the Trade Unions House in Odessa before the presidential election of Ukraine in 2014, and the other is to launch an offensive now that “new Ukraine” was somehow integrated into international relations .
The newly elected head of the “Square” Poroshenko, in contrast to Saakashvili, was able to put down the vigilance of the Kremlin so much that he was recognized by Moscow as president of Ukraine.
In parallel, a counter-question arises: who will be the clear winner in the Donbass if Moscow prefers to remain a third party to the conflict, although it supports the DNR and the LNR, and Kiev does not have the strength to put an end to the war? There is no answer to this question in the article. Meanwhile, this task may well be performed by NATO, if a suitable reason is found. In this case, the alliance forces must conduct a lightning attack in order to put Russia before a fait accompli.
Of course, today there is no political will in the West for a forceful solution of the Ukrainian issue, but with the arrival of militant democrats in the White House, the situation may change radically. That’s when the Kremlin will bite your elbows, remembering the window of opportunity, which was ajar in May 2014.
Well, for now we have to state that the Minsk-2 agreement is dead, moreover, the conclusion of new agreements is impossible due to insurmountable political obstacles. So, as before, civilians will die under shelling, and soldiers in the minefields and in local clashes. And thousands of people will not be able to return home.