Will the West make Kremlin surrender the Donbass?

The exchange of prisoners was only a prologue to the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Advisor to the US President John Bolton rejoiced at the recent exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine.

– We hope to see the reunion of more Ukrainian prisoners with their families in the future, – he wrote. And he added that the United States will continue to support the people of Ukraine.


Thus, the key politician of the American administration has made it clear that the humanitarian aspect in the history of the exchange is secondary, and America’s policy and determination to achieve its geopolitical goals is in the first place. The line bequeathed to Zbigniew Brzezinski continues.


Bolton’s harsh rhetoric is camouflaged by the sweet speeches of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Turabjorn Jagland.

– This is an encouraging step towards reconciliation between the two member states of the Council of Europe and an important element of the Minsk process, – a senior European broadcasts. However, Europe imposed sanctions against Russia as well as the United States, which means that it is no less hostile to Moscow.


Against this background, the emotion reigning in Russia after a successful exchange looks like dangerous magnanimity. The situation that threatens Russia from the collective West (Kiev became its spearhead), the danger has not disappeared. The decision to turn Ukraine into anti-Russia is slowly but surely coming to fruition.


Russian officials are happy to try. Ombudsman Tatyana Moskvalkova proposed to conclude an agreement between Moscow and Kiev, allowing on an equal footing to stop the criminal prosecution of citizens of both countries. This will certainly help with regular exchanges of prisoners, which, apparently, will still be many.


Military cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi resumes; advance payment received for anti-aircraft systems.

However, humanitarian problems between Russia and Ukraine can be solved endlessly – for decades, if the political reason that gave rise to them is not resolved. Until a full-fledged state border appears between the national republics of Donbass as part of Russia and Ukraine, the seizure of people and shelling will continue.


But the Kremlin still does not want this. During a telephone conversation with Zelensky, Vladimir Putin advised him to re-read the text of the Minsk agreements. It seems that the Kremlin’s obsessive desire to push the Donbass back to Ukraine in the form of regions with a special status has not disappeared. On the contrary, after the election of Zelensky as president, they decided to try again.


If you believe the recent confessions of political scientist Alexei Chesnakov, the inclusion of the DNR and LNR in Russia is not considered at all in the Kremlin. The struggle is between those who are ready to merge everything as soon as possible, hoping to get rid of the pressure of the West (Deputy Prime Minister Kozak) and those who hope that the Donbass as part of Ukraine will become an “independent” fighter for Russian interests (Surkov). It is from these positions that Putin chooses.


It is interesting that both presidents, both Russia and Ukraine, want to see the West as a mediator in the negotiations. Zelensky has already proposed to include the USA in the “Norman format”. And Putin was not opposed. Immediately after the exchange of prisoners, the President of the Russian Federation called Macron and two presidents once again announced the lack of alternativeness of the Minsk agreements. Everything goes to yet another attempt to realize Minsk.


As a political scheme, on paper, the Minsk agreements may have looked justified. Like, Russia needs all of Ukraine, if not friendly, then at least neutral. But over the past five years, so much blood has been shed that peaceful coexistence is simply impossible. Apparently, in order to relieve itself of moral responsibility, Moscow began issuing Russian passports. Who will not be able to live in Ukraine will move to Russia.


However, where is the guarantee that after Minsk is completed, the republics of Donbass will become Ukraine again, and the Armed Forces of Ukraine will appear on the border with Russia, can Zelensky keep the situation under control? But what if he is ousted the next day as a result of another maidan, as a traitor to the interests of the Ukrainian nation? How can Russia protect the Russians in this case?


Were the cynics who in the summer and fall of 2014 assumed that Moscow supported the Donbass only in order to later exchange its withdrawal from there for the international community to recognize the Russian status of Crimea right?


The fact that the Kremlin, in principle, does not think in such moral categories as the need to protect compatriots, Russians, etc. one can guess from the cold, “technical” meeting of those released from Ukrainian prisons. Only journalist Kirill Vyshinsky (essentially a civil servant) received at least some attention from the state. The rest are like pariahs.


While in Kiev, the liberated were greeted as national heroes. Including those who did not behave heroically. President Zelensky personally came to the plane to embrace “his guys” – he showed solidarity. It is such episodes that nurture and support the national spirit, which will then confront Russia.


To neglect this from the Kremlin is short-sighted and even criminal. The ruling group will one day leave the government, and Russia will have to live with an aggressive, hostile country.


According to political analyst Alexander Asafov, Zelensky will go as far as possible in the performance of Minsk.


  • Ukraine, which has a lot of problems both in the economy and in politics, should at least do something to show the nature of the changes to both external and internal audiences. At least some campaign promises must be realized. And since the corridor of Zelensky’s capabilities is not very wide – subjectivity is significantly limited, he does what gives him direct reputation success.


– Part of the Ukrainian society – nationalists do not really support it …


  • Soon, the President of Ukraine will have a number of unpopular decisions related to the sale of land and round timber, which will definitely cause a negative in society. And then he will have something to present to society. Despite the fact that the fate of the liberated heroes of Ukraine may turn out differently – we all remember how Savchenko continued her heroic career, Zelensky’s decision to exchange was quite pragmatic and balanced.


– Will the implementation of the Minsk agreements follow, which, obviously, does Putin expect from him?


– Both the implementation of the Minsk agreements and the progress in the Norman format are entirely dependent on Zelensky and his American curators. There is tension between Ukraine and the USA, but since Zelensky is in a hopeless situation, he will try to fulfill the requirements, including the IMF. In Minsk, Zelensky will advance as far as the situation allows him. It can be limited only to exchanges.


But a serviceman of the DNR army, Benes Ayo categorically does not see the people’s republics of Donbass as part of Ukraine.


  • I recall that in March, April and May 2014 there were 100-200 thousandth demonstrations. People chanted “Crimea-Donbass-Russia.” And then, inspired by the Russian spring in Crimea, many defended the republics with weapons in their hands.


– Residents of Donbass have shown themselves even more decisive than the Crimeans. We remember the shots as they first tried to stop Ukrainian armored vehicles with their bare hands …


– Yes, and at the referendum of May 11, 2014 we clearly expressed our position – we are for the separation of Donbass from Ukraine and for the creation of independent states of the DNR and LNR. Then the people of Donetsk realized that the Donetsk “respectable uncles”, who were only happy about their profits, would agree with the Kiev regime, and people sought help from mother Russia.


The Minsk agreements (September 2014 and February 2015) were concluded only for peace. Moreover, their content was not agreed in any way with the residents of the republics. We hoped for an end to the war and understood perfectly well that Kiev would never agree to negotiations with LDNR and would not fulfill the political part of the agreements.


Personally, at first I thought that there would definitely not be a big war, Russia will recognize the people’s republics and help us with peacekeepers, as in the Crimea. And even when the junta began armed aggression did not expect that the conflict would drag on for as long as five years and would have such a massive character. I thought they’ll shoot a year and that’s all.


Why does the Kremlin believe that the new leadership of Ukraine will be able to break relations from a dead end?

– Now, with the advent of Zelensky, the Russian authorities again hope to implement Minsk. It is hard to imagine how people who have been at war for five years will be able to return to Ukraine again …


– I won’t be surprised, if certain Russian and Donbass political and economic structures have agreement with the Ukrainian oligarchs and they simply share the income of our factories and factories, explaining all these trade and economic difficulties with “geopolitical” reasons and “costs of trench life”. It is these structures that possibly push DNR back into Nazi Ukraine.


From my point of view, these are the enemies of DNR who want to completely grab all our enterprises for pumping out super profits from them and joint plunder of our people. And our path is the complete independence of the DNR, the restoration of the territorial integrity of the Donbass and integration with Russia.