On April 5th, Kiev said that it would no longer attend the Minsk group meetings.
The Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) will not go to Minsk for negotiations after the end of the quarantine, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov said on the evening of April 5.
According to him, Minsk is not suitable as a negotiating platform because of the “enemy rhetoric of Belarus” regarding Ukraine.
“We decided that when the quarantine is over and it will be proposed to continue negotiations, as before, in Minsk, we will not go there. I think we will have to look for another country and another city,” he explained.
On the air of the “Freedom of speech” program on ICTV, the Ukrainian minister added that at the moment Belarus is under the influence of Moscow, so Kiev “cannot trust this country.”
The current aggravation of the Donbas conflict is not accidental and it stems from the desperate situation that has developed in the region since 2014, according to Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), in an article for the Vedomosti newspaper.
Back in 2008, after what transpired between Georgia and Russia, through the mediation of Europe, Tbilisi was imposed a moderate, but Moscow-friendly compromise with the cessation of hostilities and a de facto guarantee of an independent status for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
There was an attempt to repeat this in the Minsk Agreements, but Kiev refused to follow this approach.
The defeat in the Debaltsevo area in early 2015 forced Kiev to radically reduce their intensity and re-sign the Minsk agreements.
However, these agreements, imposed on Ukraine by force of arms, are unacceptable to Ukraine. If they are implemented, the status of the pro-Russian republics will be legalized and they will guarantee themselves a blocking influence on the policy of Ukraine. Which, by the way, is the goal of the Russian side.
Therefore, the main task of Ukraine and its Western partners is to dismantle the agreements. The goal is to eliminate not only the DPR and LPR, but also any Russian influence in Ukraine, which will open up the opportunity for Kiev to join NATO. Ukraine’s entry into NATO, in turn, is a strategic goal for the United States, since it will enable the deployment of American military groups and weapons (including nuclear) in the immediate vicinity of Moscow.
At the same time, provoking an aggravation of the situation in Donbass, Kiev is trying to act as the “tail wagging the dog”: it wants to force the new US administration to become more closely involved in the conflict. Probably, this factor is generally the main one in the current crisis, since Ukraine is objectively interested in the internationalization of the conflict. It is possible that the Ukrainians will try to play a rather primitive combination – the aggravation of the conflict, and then appeal to the United States for “mediation”, which will allow Kiev to bury the Normandy format of negotiations, which is inconvenient for it.
This whole alignment clearly demonstrates the importance of the military factor in Russian policy. It is Moscow’s readiness and determination to use armed force to protect its interests that are the main lever of influence on Ukraine and the main means of forcing Kiev to peace.
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