Demand on Moscow to hand over the Donbass and to continue subsidizing Ukraine
(Unsigned), EurAsia Daily (pro-Russian), Jul 27 2015
So, what happened in the Donbass in the last month? Strange movements around the conflict have already created a wide field for conspiracy theories, quite a few of which are well-informed. Consider the situation in chronological order. During the spring and early summer, Kiev consistently violating the Minsk agreements in an increasingly rigid form. So, instead of restoring economic ties, Kiev de facto established the blockade, which goes far beyond what is acceptable under international humanitarian law. Ukraine consistently increased throughput mode, blocked the delivery of food and medicine, periodically organized water blockade of Lugansk. Siege of Kiev’s actions were quite effectiv so, food prices in LDNR is several times higher than in Ukraine and significantly higher than in Russia, with almost an order of magnitude smaller incomes. For its part, Russia did almost nothing to ease customs barriers. Of course, there was continued shelling of settlements and the withdrawal of the Ukrainian artillery did not take place even on paper. In other words, Kiev broke almost everything it could. Moscow has traditionally preferred not to notice.
So a kind of attitude to the performance of its obligations and Western “partners”. Jun 12 at the G7 meeting was finalized a new round of sanctions against Russia. De facto, to Moscow has put forward the ultimatum. According to CNN sources, the sharp tightening of sanctions will affect finance, energy and defence, and the representative of presidential administration of Pindostan noted that the reason for it will be “a serious attack anywhere on the line of contact.” At the same time, to Moscow they promise am immediate response:
There is a long list of different options that leaders will be able to answer any manifestation of Russian aggression, quickly and decisively. We are not talking about weeks.
In parallel, they are beginning with a new power to spin propaganda campaign around the Malaysian “Boeing”. Next act commenced on Jul 16, when Victoria Nuland and Jeffrey Pyatt pushed through the Rada such “amendments” to the Constitution that look like a blatant mockery of the Minsk agreements and the requirement of unconditional surrender. In fact, according to Nuland:
This will answer any queries on compliance by Ukraine with the Minsk agreements, whether these requests are from Donetsk and Lugansk, or from Moscow, and now we can say: “Our obligations have been met, and about you is the question.”
Let me remind you, the reciprocal obligations of Moscow included, for example, the transmission control of Ukraine over the border in the Donbass. In other words, the Kremlin offered to capitulate in exchange for decorative “concessions” from the “partners”. The same day, the State Dept warned Pindo citizens about the dangers of travel in the Crimea and East of Ukraine, is formally similar warnings from Jan 5:
The situation in Ukraine is unpredictable and could change quickly.
Then, on Jul 16, the European Commission officially stated that they will not allow the termination of gas transit through Ukraine. Vice-President of the EC for energy Maroš Šefčovič:
One of the goals of “Gazprom” is to make Ukrainian transit system less relevant, or to terminate deliveries through Ukraine completely, and this would have negative consequences for energy security in Europe. This would change the gas balance, and put in a very difficult situation of the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe. If the purpose of the construction of the gas pipeline “Turkish stream” and “Nord stream-2″ is to gradually empty the Ukrainian transit route, this is simply unacceptable for the EU.
On the same day, Poroshenko gave a remarkable CNN interview, fragments of which appeared a day later. Among his statements:
I do not just consider, but also have confirmation regarding this from our intelligence sources. I have information from intelligence that the invasion will come.
As usual with the Ukrainian side, statements about the invasion clearly demonstrate their readiness to escalate. So that, in conjunction with Washington’s position, ready to “insert” sanctions in the event of any serious collision, looked like an unequivocal threat. In other words, from Moscow “only” practically demanded unconditional surrender of Donbass, and to continue subsidizing Ukraine. The fact that the mediation of Russia, obviously, was very valuable during negotiations with Iran, has not affected anything. Jul 17, Nuland:
Pindostan will not exchange one for the other… We do not believe that Russia has made any concessions to Pindostan (regarding Iran).
On the same day, held telephone talks in the channel format (Merkel, Hollande, Putin, Poroshenko). According to domestic reports, Moscow has demanded direct dialogue between Kiev and LDNR and raised the question of the blockade. Messages, Western agencies more substantial. European “deuce” was required to continue the withdrawal of tanks and light weapons (less than 100 mm) and demilitarization of Shirokino. Then on Jul 18, the APU shelled the center of Donetsk, there were victims among the civilian population. The NYT reported that Pindostan can make access to credit resources difficult for Russian companies. Sberbank, Gazprommeft, Bank of Moscow, Gazprombank, VTB, Rosselkhozbank, Vnesheconombank, Novatek, Rosneft, can currently obtain 30-day loans, but potentially it was about the limitation of the term borrowings of the week. The newspaper quotes its source:
Let’s see what Putin’s friends will answer it.
On Jul 19, Poroshenko said:
To date, Russia has yet to fulfil the obligations that were imposed on it, because there is the term “until the end of the year.” Russia must withdraw illegal armed groups, close the border, and restore control of the border on the Ukrainian side. Once that happens, then understanding of our (Russian) brothers will be forthcoming from the Ukrainians.
Ukraine itself, according to the “President”, implements the provisions of Minsk 2 “ahead of schedule, the 11th item is de facto done.” He says:
We launched the constitutional process. The law on the special status is accepted, local government taken, and it is clearly-drawn position, and Ukraine has fulfilled its obligations.
In other words, Poroshenko has passed on the ultimatum from Nuland, the demand for the full delivery of Donbass, and emphasized that further attempts to find a compromise would be inappropriate. The militia beginning of unilateral diversion of weapons with a caliber of less than 100 mm from the contact line. The representative of the presidential administration of Ukraine said (Russia’s) promises were “baseless”. On Jul 20, the head of the OSCE mission Alexander Hug refused to confirm the withdrawal, on the grounds that “the confirmation of the diversion of arms always involves a bilateral verification regime,” and there was “still no agreement on what weapons, where and by what date should be moved.” On Jul 21, representatives of LDNR declared their readiness “in one-way mode to perform the Minsk agreement” and to delay the timing of their implementation (Kiev’s implementation, that is) to next year. On Jul 19, 20 and 21, continued shelling of Donetsk. On Jul 22, Kiev agreed to the withdrawal of weapons. On Jul 23, the number of attacks grew. On Jul 24, the army (people’s militia) LNR was forbidden to return fire. Now the clashes are still continuing, but on Aug 3 is planned signing of a formal agreement about the withdrawal of troops.
Aside from tightening the screws of sanctions of the West, another channel is declared on Jul 17, the position of the closest ally of Moscow: Kazakhstan announced that it would block exception of Ukraine from the free trade zone of the CIS, as anticipated in response to the entry into force of the economic part of the Association Agreement. In other words, Astana will discourage attempts by Russia to protect its market from Ukrainian dumping of re-exports, which is inevitable after the abolition of duties on imports from the EU. Earlier, the EU practically wrecked trilateral negotiations on this issue. Russia strongly “recommended” to contain the Kiev regime, not only in regard to transit, but also by maintaining trade preferences. In other words, the Kremlin has already hit the standard situation whereby the Western “partners” have almost completely abandoned their obligations, while continuing to enforce the pledges from Moscow under threat of further tightening the screws of sanctions. “Compliance” of the Russian Federation, in turn, as traditionally conceived, resulting in a further consolidation of the West, locking its “allies” (vassals – RB) into the camp of the winners with more and more stringent requirements.
The Russian economy is not in the best shape. The first five months of the year showed a fairly significant decline in industrial production (5.5%), and also a decline in real incomes. June showed some recovery, but leading indicators generally are unfavorable. To a large extent this is down to the economic bloc of the government and the lobby of the natural monopolies, but such trifles are traditionally preferred to ignore. Anyway, the tightening of sanctions pressure causes not unfounded fear in Moscow. Against this background, in both the LDNR and Russia are growing total skepticism towards recent blind support for the Kremlin’s policy. In the end, we see attempts to stall for time in an attempt to “wait out” the Kiev regime, in parallel with concessions to the “partners”. Propaganda meanwhile attempts to shift responsibility for the actual failure of the policy of “appeasement” in the Donbass in general, onto Igor Strelkov in particular, “the unscrupulous and criminal” who drew Russia into a confrontation instead of humble capitulation, accepting punishment from our “friends in Kiev.” Attempt to be with Russia and become part thereof can not go unpunished: that’s the basic meaning of the “message” coming, for example, in the form of a squeal from the leading TV channels. But even if we ignore the fantastic cynicism of Solovyov and Co, the rate for the freezing of the conflict at any cost is hardly reasonable.