Prisoner Swap …and then what?

So the prisoner swap between the Kiev government and the DPR/LPR republics of Donbass, the only thing of any value that has so far and probably ever will come of the Normandy Four meetings, has taken place yesterday 29 Dec 2019.  A total of 124 people to Donbass and 74 to Kiev, were swapped.

“Decision to hand over former Berkut officers to Donbass was “political” — Zelensky”

A number of those released by Kiev were former Berkut riot police arrested in 2014 following the Maidan uprising. Remember at the time, this was the government of the former Russian leaning president Yanukovich, and the riot police were said to be hard on the protesting nationalists (aka nazis), and accused of shooting many of the protesters. That was not the case of course, and they have never actually been tried in court. The snipers involved in the shootings, it is now known, were actually CIA thugs (which I have reported elsewhere) paid to raise the riots to a new level of violence and paving the way for the toppling of the government and the installation of a new US puppet government in Ukraine. That is now all part of history, which the US, however much it is denied, will never be forgiven for staging. 

You can read some of that story here: “Kiev court rules to release former Berkut riot police officers on own recognizance” 

So, these ex-police were actually the ‘good guys’ (if riot police can ever be thought of as such), enforcing the law, not killers, and over a thousand of them were wounded in that US sponsored unrest.  Some of them, recognising they were now marked men, wisely fled to Russia where they are serving the community as members of the Russian police force and ironically needing to deal with similar CIA inspired unrest there.

“Russia: Berkut officers join Russian law enforcement units” 

…while those who remained in Ukraine have been treated badly and made examples of in that now overtly nationalistic nation:

“Ukraine ‘Berkut’ Anti-Riot Police Pray For Forgiveness”

So, that is over now. The decks are supposedly clear. So now, what? I am not sure where else this process has to go. Some trumped up agreement to pursue a dead-end agenda, half-heartedly signed by both sides and a few disinterested onlookers? Maybe. It could also, more honestly, simply collapse through lack of interest by the main participants – all of whom are, or were, part of a previous version of Ukraine – now a three way split. Somehow they have all got to deal with that.

Low Morale of Ukraine Military

It’s a tough life in the Ukrainian army – and I’m fairly sure it is not through over-training.

“Ukrainian army suffers 25 non-battle losses in a week” – DAN News

In a week where the force received 25 non-battle losses – the causes are listed in this DAN article – this is not an isolated occurrence, but indicates a great deal of dissatisfaction and unrest among Ukraine’s military units. Maybe they are not getting paid enough to fight what were their own countrymen until recent years. Maybe there never could be enough pay for that. I recall past stories of troops selling valuable US supplied equipment, which kind of fits in with that scenario.

The Ukraine military is lucky that Russia has taken a neutral stand-off position on this situation, restricting their activities to the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Donbass people’s republics. But then I believe that the DPR and LPR militias are more than a match for any forces that the Kiev government would dare to field against them. And that may be another factor playing on Ukrainian troop’s minds. Leaving out the injustice they must feel in being called on to continually shell and mortar civilian population areas.

Poor morale in military units does not augur well for their effectiveness when things get real.

Useful Satisfaction ≈ No Progress

So, the Normandy Four meetings held on Monday are hailed as having been both useful and satisfactory.  Does that equal ‘success’?  Well, only if you consider success to mean nothing has changed and no progress has been made. 

TASS has produced 5 separate stories on this today, none of which indicate that anything happened which could be interpreted as progress, other than a restatement of basic principles.  I suppose that could be said to be better than any retrenchment from earlier stated positions, but it doesn’t mean that anything positive is going to happen.  Anything at all, at least within the foreseeable future.

All that is needed of course, and what will eventually happen, is for Ukraine to kiss Donbass goodbye and redraw its own borders along the declared borders of the new republics.

I suggest that no such thing is yet on the cards and as a result more people are going to die every day on either side of those borders.  Mainly Donbass civilians who are even now constantly under Kiev army shelling and also Kiev soldiers who don’t seem to know how to handle live munitions or remember where they buried land-mines (so much for US/NATO advisory assistance).

“Ceasefire in Donbass should be synchronized with political reforms in Ukraine — Putin”

Image from related TASS story

Normandy Four – Designed To Fail

Tomorrow, Monday 9 December, is going to be an important day in more ways than the one I talked about in my previous post.  It will mark the latest summit meeting of the so-called Normandy Four in Paris, ostensibly to “look for solutions to the conflict in Donbass”.

It will fail.  It will fail, as I have said several times before, because there are no points of agreement between the various parties and because only one side of the main parties involved in the dispute – The Kiev government of Ukraine – are represented in the talks.  The other side, the two new people’s republics of Donbass are not and cannot be represented by the presence and voice of Russia (as influential as that may be).

It will fail because there is no will on the part of either of the two main sides to make it work.

It will fail also because the Kiev government, even with the military backing of the US/NATO, is unable to impose its will on the people of Donbass.

It will fail because the people of Donbass also have zero interest in reintegrating with Ukraine.

All other matters that may be discussed, are therefore largely irrelevant.

The most important outcome from this summit then can only be that the member states come to agree that it is pointless to continue the reintegration charade, and allow the Ukrainians and Neorussians to sort out their own problems.

For the Donbass republics, the future looks bright and secure. they are already getting on with the business of developing as separate nations and beginning to gain recognition.
For Ukraine itself, which as I recently came to understand is not the name of a country but simply means a ‘frontier or border region’, and what today we think of as a country is based purely on myth, now a basketcase hotchpotch of various regions that without the prosperity and resources of the Donbass simply can have no stable economic future unless integrated with other nations (but who would want it – apart from the Americans as a thorn in Russia’s side).

So, while nothing much can eventuate from tomorrow’s discussions, I want to see it happen, and see it fail, so that a great many people can get on with their lives unhampered by the current unsettled impasse.

“Kiev names four key issues for Ukraine at Normandy Four summit”

“DPR stands against ‘updates’ to the Minsk Agreements”

“LPR ready for dialogue with Kiev if Donbass status law is extended – Pasechnik” – but has already “…chosen the path towards integration with the Russian Federation”

Minsk, Spinsk, It’s All A Game – with people’s lives

“Russia’s envoy slams Kiev’s statements on non-compliance with its obligations”

I don’t want to keep harping on about this, but I will if I have to, and the West (including Ukraine) is playing  it for all it is worth, but the Minsk agreements championed by the so-called Normandy Four, are dead in the water, barely floating, and certainly incapable of movement.

Neither side actually involved in the case – the Kiev government and the breakaway Donbass republics – actually want anything to do with Minsk.  Kiev sees it as a Russian plot to denude them of part of Ukraine through a separation of control, and neither Donetsk or Lugansk really want to prolong any further ties with Ukraine, preferring to hitch their wagons to Russia.

And Russia, standing alone against the West, a position it would rather not be in, is trying to roll shit uphill in pushing for the fulfilment of Minsk – an impossible dream – because it does not want the trauma that would inevitably follow if it were to accept these new republics into its fold (although I also feel sure it will do that if push comes to shove).  Russia, If I judge this right, would simply prefer for all other alternatives to be played out first, but will as a last resort ensure the safety of its diasporic people from annihilation by Western barbaric hordes.  I doubt those people, the Donbassians, will easily give up the land they have claimed as their own – some of the best and most productive land that Ukraine used to have.  

America, having little part to play – other than through less than subtle undercurrents – as a result of being shamelessly exposed for starting this all off with one of its infamous regime change coups and economic rape sessions, still hovers in the background as a ruthless snake in the grass, feeding such fires as it is able, through military and covert assistance.

All of this is just a measure of the sad state of affairs that the world finds itself in at the close of yet another failed civilisation.  We  must endure it and also share in the pain of those closest to the fraction zones of a dying society.

In the end, none of us may get away completely unscathed, wherever we have pitched our tents.