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.

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.

No Lessons Learned

I struggled to arrive at a suitable title for this post.  Options considered were:

“US Pledges $30 Billion To Build Up Ukraine Military”   on top of the billions that it has already invested in setting up and bolstering its own puppet government there.  This, on the basis that Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, a bankrupt nation (can’t even pay its gas bill), yesterday vowed to spend exactly that amount for exactly that same purpose.  He hasn’t got that sort of money.  His country hasn’t got that sort of money.  So, it must be coming from his backers, the US.

“US Provides Arms To The Islamic State”  , by devious means and sleight of hand, of course.  First it gave the weapons to the Iraqi army, knowing full well that they would at the first opportunity, and in only slightly shop-soiled condition, be handed over to the first organised rebel force to show up on Iraq’s doorstep.  And since the most radical elements of the Syrian rebel forces, now known as the Islamic State, were the most likely contenders within easy reach (Al Quaeda can be pretty much dismissed as a cohesive force these days),  they were the willing participants in the huge US give-away.

“NATO Finds An Enemy  …And A Reason To Exist”   since it lost both of those causes with the collapse of the Soviet Union several decades ago.  NATO has been wandering in the wilderness of purposeless projects for so many years but now, thinking that it has something it can dig its teeth into, is rubbing its hands with glee at the thought and is once again making unfounded, aggressive and belligerent noises against Russia, the core element of its old foe.

“Kiev, Fountain Of All Lies”  based on the drivel that continues to pour out from that already discredited source, such as (these are not quotes, just summarisations) ‘Russia is shelling us from both sides of the border’, ‘Russia is amassing troops on our border’, ‘Russia has invaded us (with white trucks?)’, ‘Russia is reinforcing and arming the separatist rebels’.  None of which is supportable by anything remotely resembling a fact.

Taking all of these thoughts into account, No Lessons Learned, seems to be the most appropriate title I could come up with.

When is the US going to get tired of making bad foreign policy decisions?  Perhaps they don’t view them as bad.  Perhaps these acts actually support US foreign policy goals.

When is NATO going to realise that it has no enemy and, as Ron Paul has suggested, actually be disbanded?   Preferably before it antagonises someone, eg. Russia, into believing that they (NATO) are actually a real threat to peace and stability.

When is Kiev (current government, that is) going to realise that nobody, at least nobody who gives some thought to their pronouncements, finds them in any way credible?  When are they going to pay their gas bill?  When are they going to stop trying to annihilate their fellow countrymen in the East?

I can’t do justice to providing comprehensive answers to these questions, but Ilargi as usual makes a very good attempt at giving us some reasonable conclusions on at least some of them in one of his latest posts at The Automatic Earth, here.  It is worth reading, in my view.  As is his daily round-up and critique of news reportage.