26 October 2016

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OpinionImpotence of Normandy Format

It is no longer a secret who ‘Mafia’ is at the table of a global game. The ‘Sheriff’ knows it, as well as the regular ‘Citizens’, and even the ‘Doctor’. ‘Mafia’ also knows that it has blown its cover, but it keeps pretending that there is no problem, because it has a gun in its hands. That's a short summary of the negotiations with the "Russian partners" both on Ukraine and Syria. Timid attempts of the international community to show the way to the Russian bear back to its taiga find no understanding whatsoever.

Even the Russian president no longer conceals the fact long-known worldwide of Russia’s military intervention in Donbas. Putin is blunt as ever when saying that those cursed Americans after the "coup" in Kyiv practically forced Moscow to defend Russian speakers in Ukraine’s Crimea and Donbas. While the term “little green men” in the seized Crimea with time transformed into a Russian army, a more veiled term is being used by far for the situation in Donbas: "We have never concealed the fact that we sent people there to solve military issues." Anyway, the essence remains the same: Russian occupation boots primarily destroy all that is Ukrainian.

Therefore, any discussion regarding implementation of the Minsk-2 would be for the totally oblivious. The main purpose of this document is a reintegration of parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions back into Ukraine. Actually, this is why the lifting of the EU sanctions against Russia is linked to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The European party implies that Russia will return control of the Ukrainian-Russian border to Kyiv and eventually withdraw. At the same time, the Kremlin’s position is as simple as a brick: we can hold as many rounds of negotiations as anyone wishes, but the new territory remains under their protectorate. Moscow does not intend to lower the Russian flag over Donetsk. Ukraine will never go for such a "compromise".The Normandy Four leaders simply have nothing to discuss. The main problem is Russia’s categorical refusal to withdraw from the seized Donbas. In fairness, it should be added that the Kremlin had no such plans from the very start. Over the past two years of occupation, great work has been done to incorporate Ukrainian territories into the Russian realities. In addition to the Russian army, which is for some reason branded "People's militia", there has long been a wide turnover of the Russian currency. Subventions for social aid are flowing in from the Russian state budget, there have long been Russian textbooks in local schools, while television shows Putin confronting the whole world full of enemies. Besides, there is also Russian electricity and gas, however, that’s not a free cookie.

Therefore, any discussion regarding implementation of the Minsk-2 would be for the totally oblivious. The main purpose of this document is a reintegration of parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions back into Ukraine

The Russians are too shy to shout out loud “Donbas Nash” [Donbas is ours], but this doesn’t change anything. The new border between Russia and Ukraine lies along today’s contact line in the ATO zone, and there are no chances to move it back to the Rostov region in a diplomatic way. No matter how much it hurts, the Ukrainians have to admit it, especially when someone decides to ask the Ukrainian President, whatever his name is: "When will this war be over?" The Ukrainians must learn to live with it.

Minsk-2 was originally a dead project. However, it played a very important role, giving the country’s defenders time to regroup after Debaltseve and take new positions. Ukraine will have to wait for the return of stolen territories. However, it may not be long. The thing is that the Kremlin has been gaining more and more serious enemies around the world lately.

Roman Tsymbaliuk, Moscow

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