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You're reading: Steven Pifer: ​Minsk is not working, but Kyiv should stay with it

Negotiators met twice in Minsk—in
September 2014 and February 2015—to broker a settlement to the Russian-inspired
separatist fighting in the Donbas. The
second time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois
Hollande joined Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President
Vladimir Putin to mediate.

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This Minsk is not the first Minsk, and should not be the last. New data and proof of Russian involvement as well as tremendous human rights violations in Crimea need to be addressed in Minsk III. Return of Crimea control back to the sovereign I country of Ukraine that it is a part of, removal of Russian equipment and personnel. All are topics to discus. There is no DPR or LPR, they are Russian puppets. Russia has been outed, German media showed that five politburos in Russia direct the Donbas puppets actions. So eliminate the language referencing the puppets. Directly address it as Russian occupation. Then prepare for Minsk IV, Minsk V etc.

Unworthy of any meaningful response.

Because you know you can't give one.

James Canchela

Finally, silence. No more lies from you for a moment at least.

Ukraine will be able to get Donbass back only through political and diplomatic settlement of the conflict there, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Friday a yet another time at a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council.

“I’d like to say once again there’s an absolutely clear position and it suggests there’s no getting Donbass back militarily,” he said.

Poroshenko also pointed out the inadmissibility of disruptions of peace processes, as that would make reverting of a part of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions into Kiev’s sway impossible.

“As President, I can’t admit of it,” he said. “That’s my scenario.

Poroshenko added that most Ukrainians supported the peaceful re-establishment of Ukrainian sovereignty over today’s self-proclaimed independence-seeking Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which stand beyond the sphere Kiev’s control.

James Canchela

Alex George has already refuted the individual that you supported quite well, so please dig your head out of the sand.
How on earth does your latest garbage comment support your conjecture that the individual you supported was correct. Your only blathering on with this comment which is meaningless.

Hey Jimmy, I'm just the messenger. Ask Porky or check it out in Ukrainian news outlets yourself. Denying truth doesn't alter it. I hope you can see through your hatred....one day soon

Perhaps you should learn to read news reports. You are right it will be a diplomatic solution - when Russia gives up.

re Alex:
cede means relinquish control,
Ukrainian economy: BBC Months of turmoil have taken their toll. Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned that the economy would shrink by at least 3% this year - and by as much as 10% without international assistance.
The hryvnia Ukraine’s national currency lost 350% of its value
The Dutch vote on Ukraine's entry into the EU mirrors what most of the citizens of EU feel about Ukraine
Ukraine's economic and societal future lies with closer association with Russia, like it or not.

None of which answers a single point from my response to that uneducated dill Telets.

Ukraine has never ceded a metre of territory, hence it was a stupid thing to write in the first place.
On the economy, your figures are completely wrong - you appear to be quoting a news report from two years ago.
The Hryvnia as I wrote above is worth almost three times the Ruble.
The Dutch vote was supported by only 19% of Dutch voters, many of whom have made clear that it was NOT because of their view of Ukraine.
Ukraine's economic and societal future lies with complete separation from the economic basket-case that is Russia, like it or not.

James Canchela

1. Let make it clear you know the definition of "cede" but do not comprehend its meaning or you wouldn't have agreed with the argument. The Ukraine ceded nothing to Russia.
2. Feb 26, 2016 -Yatsenyuk said, "We need only a year or two until the economy will recover and we will see first results."
3. 1.00 USD = 25.0499 UAH, 1.00 USD = 66.8660 RUB
4. Where on Earth have you seen where the rest of the EU feel the same as the Dutch where only a small percentage of the voter bothered to participate or is this simply your wish.
5. Considering that the Ukraine has found many new countries to do commerce with I don't see such a reliance on Russia as you suggest.

James Canchela

Rather than support your conjecture you have elected to change the subject hoping no one would notice.
Hate you I do not but think you a fool, yes.

And to do it again, Jimmy...Canada(my home) won Gold at the hockey tournament and, you're going to love this.....Russia destroyed 'murica 7-2 for Bronze. I think they give out Tin for 4th place. Bwhahahahahaha

Now what are you going on about - changing the subject after all your arguments were shot to pieces. No problem.

James Canchela

Sorry, but I don't follow hockey. A child's game but whatever occupies your time.

No need to apologise....or denigrate the game by saying it is a child's game...as it quite obviously isn't. Most likely if 'Murica had of won you'd be ranting about how great they are. No matter, Formula 1 is really where it's at.

James Canchela

The fact is unless it's women gymnastics or martial arts I'm not interested.
Your interest are just that your interests.
Do or don't these players begin playing these games as children, ergo a child's game. If you wish to continue to live your childhood games into adulthood well great for you.

Jet Li (Li Lian Jie)began Wushu at about 8 years of age. I would suppose, by your definition, he is continuing to play his "childhood" games into adulthood. I have only attained a 2nd kyu(some call it brown) in Aikido, which I began as a child, many many years ago. I never kept it up. I regret that and have forgotten most of the skills except a few.

What on earth does this have to do with the topic, especially our desperate attempt to support Putin's corrupt and inept regime in Russia?

James Canchela

Jet LI nor neither any other individual in the martial arts has ever considered it a game. If you yourself considered it in this manner, please go back to those that trained you and ask them if it was ever a game to them.

Spot On!! Now if the Right Sector was nullified, Porky impeached and new elections, without limitations called, perhaps there is a way forward. I would remind the yanquis stooge Pifer that Crimeans voted for re-unification with Russian Fed although I doubt he can comprehend this.

If the Right Sector was nullified, Porky impeached etc, Putin would be furious. He loves corruption and is determined to see it increase in Ukraine. He will not rest until Ukraine is as corrupt as Russia once again.
.
And no, Crimeans did not vote for re-unification with Russia, not in any meaningful sense. With 20,000 guns pointed at the population, I could also get them to vote for anything I wanted.

People were "silenced" is the better description of your last line...

Pifer is right on target.... why do you think the Kremlin is trying so hard to goad Ukraine into abandoning Minsk? Obviously because that would be in the Kremlin's interests, not Ukraine's. And with these guys from Azov batallion making these big shows of force against the peace agreement, it makes you wonder whose side they are really on...

Remember Putin wants to settle Ukraine directly with Obama (or his successor) as a faux 'superpower' dealing with the real one as an 'equal' to settle the world's disputes with 'respect' shown to each by each. This would represent victory for Putin who sees the EU (and NATO) essentially as US tools for dominating Europe so he wants to talk (in his view) to the organ grinder not the dancing monkeys. If the US has to recognise Russia's dominance in the east of Europe by engaging directly over Ukraine then he wins. Putin does NOT like dealing with the EU or its members because this accords Russia the status of a mere 'regional' power like France and Germany and that is one reason he won't implement Minsk. If the US president was engaged (as Trump says he will if elected) all would be back on the table and there would be movement and (probably) a hard negotiated compromise settlement that will involve limits being placed on Ukraine's sovereignty regarding external relationships. Whether any Kyiv government could accept that is extremely doubtful (and if it did it might be overthrown by the nationalist right that would re-open he war (allowing Putin to say 'told you so they're all rabid Banderite fascists' and most likely seize more Ukrainian territory to make the black holes viable). I suspect (hope!) no US president would be stupid enough to try to negotiate away another country's sovereignty as the damage this would do to US bilateral relationships around the world would be significant.
This is why Obama has ceded the lead to the EU states. I don't think any of the parties really expected Minsk to work. It was just a means of stopping land grabbing by Russia and slowing the killing - being seen to 'do something'. Gloomy outlook though it is , I'm afraid a comprehensive settlement isn't on the cards so we must resign ourselves
to a long standoff/ semi- frozen conflict until either the Russian regime changes (which I hope involves piano wire and at least one lamp post) or a future US president (Trump?) changes policy and opens talks with Putin, fraught with danger though that path is.

Putin should not want Trump. Clinton is unethical and greed oriented. Trump actually is compassionate, and even stated he admires Putin. That doesn't mean he will do Putin favors in negotiations. Trump also has stated America/Obama didn't do enough quick enough to aid Ukraine regards Crimea. And Trump stated Crimea and Ukraine et al, was a European problem. An indication while America may aid and advise, they wouldn't necessarily take a lead role. Clinton can be bribed so to speak, giving away interest in Ukraine aid for Russian concessions elsewhere.

Very well articulated post. If Clinton wins, she is not going to negotiate with Putin over Ukraine's sovereignty... check out the RT network, they are attacking her like crazy and trying to promote Trump/Sanders because the Kremlin knows a Clinton win is bad news for them. They see Trump as the guy who will make a favorable deal with them to sell Ukraine down the river.

Nudelman already did that. It only cost a few "sticky buns"

If Clinton get's offered a good deal then she will compromise with Putin, make no mistake, Clinton will hang Ukraine out to dry within a heartbeat, she isn't as nearly as principled as you think.
Any decent woman would have filed for a divorce after what Bill has done, yet she didn't because that would mean she would have lost power, a thing she clings harder on to then principles, her behavior during those days should tell you enough.

Oh please - so now you are an expert on what Hilary Clinton will or will not do in a hypothetical situation in future? You, of all people!

Stop fantasizing and get with the program - it is most unlikely that any US President will change the nature of US government dealings with Russia, let alone Clinton who is known to be more hawkish than many others.

You really need to do some basic study of the recent history of Ukraine.

1) Ukraine didn't "cede" anything. Do you know what that word means? At present, Russia holds 7% of Ukrianian territory, because it invaded, and then got shot up. The Russian Army wasn't good enough to get more.
2) The Ukrainian economy is recovering, despite the warfare waged against it by Russia. Russia by contrast is going down.
3) Far from losing face, Ukraine is considered far more highly than the pariah state, Russia.
4) The Kremlin is responsible for the deaths of many innocent civilians and brave Ukrainian soldiers, as well as thousands of Russian soldiers who died for no purpose except to preserve Putin's luxury.
5) The Hryvnia is worth almost three times the Ruble, and it is recovering.
6) The west europeans are part of the EU and like the EU, they are very favourable to Ukraine. They also know that they won't be overrun with refugees because of it.

Ukraine was a "united country", sure - just as it was when Stalin killed millions. Ukrainians could live and work in the Russian federation where more than 50% of people live at or near the poverty line. Peace and tranquility - yes, and repression, imprisonment, corruption and murder.

Excellent response to our Russian stooge.

Yes, absolutely, Ukraine should hang in there with Minsk. Eventually it will evolve into a trap for Putin and be his downfall.

"Would the European Union provide a more effective voice than Germany and France?"

Of course it would. Germany and France have been entirely ineffective. Indeed, Steinmeier and Ayrault give the distinct impression of being willing tools of Moscow. Why should Ukraine be outnumbered in negotiations 3:1?

Sorry, Steven PIfer, you are not convincing. There is no reason why Ukraine should bother any further with Minsk. It would be no worse off without it.

Ambassador Pifer is entirely right. Ukraine is not prepared to take on Russia at the present time and may never be in a position to do so unless Russia is preoccupied with other priorities. And "taking on" Russia means simply liberating the occupied enclave. In fact, circumstances may arise when Russia, itself, may decide to pull out without Ukrainian intervention. After all, they still have the face-saving option of insisting that they have never been there in the first place.

But, at the same time, Ukraine must continue on its military build-up - particularly in the research, development, and production of weapons that it has not been able to acquire from NATO or the U.S. Its partnership with Turkey is a positive development as is its joint military training and battalion with Lithuania and Poland.....and perhaps Rumania. Anything it can do to build ties with equally threatened states will make Ukraine less vulnerable.

As regards Minsk, the only change Ukraine should consider is to be more proactive with its special forces in creating mayhem for the Russians and their collaborators within the occupied zone and in developing better targeting to take out Russian weapons and personnel wherever they are found in the enclave. If Russia can shell Ukraine nightly, Ukraine should be more capable of responding in kind - but only within the permissible range of a "defensive reaction (wink wink) even if it has to be stretched a bit at times. Once Russians see themselves as vulnerable to Ukrainian shelling as Ukrainian front-line troops are now to Russian, they will get busy reconsidering their Minsk options.

But, in the meantime, it should simply yawn when the words "Minsk Treaty" is mentioned, attend all the meetings, be sincere in insisting on its implementation, praise the Lord, and.......pass the ammunition.

Ukrainian Special Ops trained by US Special Forces, British SAS and Canadian JTF2. Liquidating, kidnapping and blowing things up would create mayhem, no unlike s being the hunted!

Minsk will never work, Russia will never follow through on its commitments. Ukraine needs to push ahead and build its military stronger with each day. Time will come when Ukraine must push Russia out, when Russia was busy in Syria may have been a good time to push ahead. I believe Ukraine will only be able to take back their land by force. The West truly cares little and I believe fully Merkel cares even less. She will put pressure on Ukraine to subjugate to Russia. She will refuse to hold Russia accountable and the sanctions are a joke!!!! They need to be strengthen each month that Russia fails to fulfill their commitments.

Time for Ukraine to start training and planing for Guerrilla warfare. they need to be bombing rail links to Russia to stop the flow of equipment and money to the east.

I do not believe Germany is a friend of Ukraine!!!

This is not going to work without Germany and France. Do you think Poland and Lithuania are heavyweights in Europe who really influence policy? Not to mention that the new Polish government isn't so friendly to Ukraine like the previous one. The UK is isolationist and in the end they don't really care that much. Germany and France might not be the best friends for Ukraine, but they are by far the most important EU players in supporting Ukraine.... it's them or it's nothing. And no, nothing is not better than what we have now.

Agreed. Germany is no friend of Ukraine, nor is France.

But both Germany and France have a problem - many other European nations ARE friends of Ukraine, and those two are no longer the heavyweights in the EU that they once were.

The Ukrainians have been rejuvenating their snipers. The West should also assist them with their Special Forces, and with their artillery.

Guerrilla is the word you are looking for. I agree with your conjecture that Ukraine needs to strengthen their military forces as this was obviously needed regardless of Russian actions. However any attempt by Ukraine to forcibly take back the separatist areas of Donbas as well as Crimea would require a far superior Ukrainian Army and Air Force then what is now in existence. Pressure on Donbas will result in Russian troops crossing into Ukraine in Sumy oblast and near Kharkiv so those areas would need to be well defended.
As far as Germany and Merkel you must remember nations do not have friends they have "interests" and there are conflicting interest at play here: 1. Russia as Germany's big trading partner. 2. Russia violating the rules of international peace and stability by annexing Crimea and invading Donbas.

As painful as it is Minsk II must be followed until it is overtly apparent to Merkel and Hollande that Putin has no intention of honoring his commitment.

Special Ops is a good idea and I would take out the leadership of DPR and LPR first.

The actual leaders of DPR and LPR are of course in the Kremlin. A bit harder to get at unfortunately than the hapless crooks who are the nominal leaders. But "every little counts".

Of course you are correct and unfortunately they are off limits. However scaring the crap out of the puppets in DPR and LPR is the quickest way to have the situation become untenable for Putin. Always looking over your shoulder wondering if you're next can be rather nerve racking 🙂

thanks, for the correction. I think when Russia is focused elsewhere is the best time to move. Ukraine can only push in one direction while holding the line from Crimea. Putin will be moving troops again soon to invade another nation.

The Special Ops is truly needed and should be an ongoing effort. This is one area the West could help and deny any involvement. The Canadian JTF2 is probably the most secret of the lot. They operate in many locations world wide. Very little information is ever given out about this group. I think it would be very fitting for the West to help in this area and deny the effort.

This type of training can occur once the top of the Ukrainian military pyramid is cleansed of the pro Russians who still sit in positions of responsibility. There are thousands of officials who inhabit the judicial, police, security-spy service and the military that were trained and inculcated with the Soviet/Russian way of thinking and the way of doing things and they are still there! There is little incentive for them to change loyalty as they think that another Yanukovych will return. Purge these people and replace them with young progressive thinking Ukrainians.

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