Is Undefined Change A Change At All?

“Lavrov’s talks with Pompeo and Trump were pragmatic and constructive — Zakharova”

A very busy and impressively important person, and adept representative of Russia’s interests abroad is Foreign Minister, Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov (I think in this article is the first time I have seen his full name used). He is Russia’s ‘everywhere man’. And not every FM gets to talk with presidents as he does.

No less hard working, though I suggest with far less air miles, is the stalwart and equally impressive Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, who in this TASS article reports on the high level talks her boss undertook recently in the US.

Perhaps more of general interest, to me at least, are her remarks on the changing stance of the Ukraine government of Kiev in the recent Normandy Four ‘discussions’ (can’t call them anything more than that) in Paris. I actually disagree with her official assessment, if I understand it correctly, though I think it very astute of Russia to notice and to point out that apparent Kiev change – letting others know they are aware of it.

For my money I don’t think there has been any real change in stance by the Kiev government, neither for Zelensky nor his predecessor Poroshenko. They have just, perhaps from the beginning of the Minsk agreements saga, cleverly obscured or in fact failed to clearly define their position on all the implications surrounding the Donbass situation, presumably relying on the US cavalry to save the day for them. A forlorn hope, given that the US has largely washed its hands of Ukraine, having already wrung it dry from the extraction of everything they wanted. Now, close to crunch time, Kiev’s true position has begun to be expressed yet, so far, not very forcefully. Eventually, and I suggest this will be before the next scheduled meeting in March 2020, a stand-off of insurmountable demands will be made by the Kiev side or perhaps, realising that their hoped for outcome is an impossible one, they will withdraw from the process altogether. This is in line with what I have said previously – the Minsk process has all along, though perhaps not so obviously as is now emerging, been dead in the water, designed to fail.

That Ukraine attempts to paint a picture internally that is different from all other parties understanding of the situation, following this summit, I think gives the lie to their intentions. The Kiev government knows full well they will never be able to sell the reality of the case to those who internally oppose it with distorted other views. See also: “Kiev caught trying to dupe Donbass, Normandy Quartet and failed, says Russian senator”

Nevertheless, the show must go on. Though it doesn’t contain many laughs for the comedy it is turning out to be.

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

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.

Normandy Four (Minsk) Coffin Lid Now Screwed Down

Three days ago I reported the DPR’s response to the Kiev government’s Donbass genocide plan – End of The Normandy Format? – mentioning that the LPR had yet to comment.

Well the LPR has now commented through this – “Statement by LPR People’s Council”

While various heads of state forming the Normandy Four continue to plan for the continuance of discussions around the Minsk agreements, back in the real world the people of Donbass have made it clear that their relegation to second class citizens of a fascist Ukraine, their deportation to other areas, and persecution as “terrorists, separatists or subhumans who have to be exterminated or deprived of the opportunity to lead a decent and free life on their land,” is not something to which they have any intention to being subjected.

All of this makes Minsk based discussions something of a farce and yet another example of the US involving itself (they are still rendering military assistance to Kiev forces (Ukrainian troops in “JFO” zone getting demolition training from US instructors) on top of their already disreputable involvement in bringing about the political coup in Ukraine 5 years ago) in issues of outrageous inhumanity to achieve their own pernicious goals.

There will be no Minsk settlement of the Donbass situation.  That is out of the question – both for Kiev and the breakaway DPR/LPR republics.  A Minsk settlement would deny both sides from seeking their own individual determinants. 

So why continue the pretence?  I know why of course. I outlined it in my earlier post.  It is to do with appearances and, to some extent, the diminishing of openings for opportunist advantage-taking through false accusations and ‘fake news’. Which will take place anyway, no matter what.