Ukraine: Prolonged Farewell to Arms

Ukraine: Prolonged Farewell to Arms
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Russia, Germany France, and Ukraine made a fresh attempt to end hostilities in Donbass two months after the Normandy Four peace accord was signed in Minsk.

The ceasefire is still holding in Donbass, but barely, and it’s constantly under threat being irrevocably broken. Pro-Kiev forces have continued to bombard Donetsk and stage incursions into the self-proclaimed republic’s territory, and the inclusion of Pravy Sektor into the Armed Forces of Ukraine raises concerns about whether the ultra-nationalist militia will stage forthcoming provocations.

There are also American, Canadian, and UK advisors assisting Kiev at the moment, which may have contributed to its recent military confidence in the past couple of weeks. Amidst this troubling situation, the Normandy Four’s foreign ministers met on Monday to reaffirm their commitment to the Minsk Accords, pledging to set up working blocs to deal with the issues in Donbass. They also called for a full withdraw of tanks and small artillery, believing that this will help to deescalate rising tensions, and the G7 met without Russia to discuss the topic as well.

To discuss this we are joined by Andrei Fyodorov, former deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, director, Center for political research foundation (studio guest), Chris Shipler, an American political commentator from the West Coast and Milan Panic, the former Prime Minister of Yugoslavia (1992-1993).

Andrei Fyodorov: In the nearest future, most probably after the 9th of May, we might face a new wave of tension and new military clashes between the two sides. The reason is simple: for the Ukraine leadership, it’s needed to show that there is a strength, there is a will to return, and this new escalation might help to avoid a political crisis in Kiev which is now visible with the attempts to withdraw Yatsenyuk from the post of the Prime Minister, and this political killings in Kiev that recently happened this is a kind of signal that normal political solution of the internal conflicts are not working any more. And the problem is that it’s probably the beginning of the whole process. And the more tension there will be at the top of Ukrainian power, the more such cases we might face in the future. And the other reason is of course that in the recent months, the Ukrainian army in the Southeast really renewed its armaments: there are more than one hundred new tanks, armed vehicles arrived, etc. This is a very serious challenge for Russia because the new military conflict might influence Russian domestic and foreign policy.

Chris Shipler:I know that there are people absolutely wanting a war on the European continent with Russia, and most of them live in Washington D.C. The problem is in inaugurating the Right Sector into the military and then into the US where they are training people and of course Canada (they send people there, and I’m sure there are some NATO people too). All they are doing is setting the stage for war. Eastern Ukraine: they are not going to stop and they are not going to walk over, so I would say that we are going to see escalating tensions and continual violations of the Ceasefire, continued rhetoric from western media trying to label Putin and Russia as the aggressor or the invader, right up until it is full war again, and it’s going to be uglier and bitter and more death this time around.

Andrew Korybko: Mr. Panić, as the tensions mounts in Ukraine and the peace process is in doldrums, could the Dayton peace process provide an effective model for resolving the Ukrainian crisis?

Milan Panic: Yes, absolutely yes. Of course they should sit together and resolve that. Don’t forget the Bosnian-Balkan question was far more complicated. I don’t call it seriously complicated, I think there were many more complications because we had more religions: Muslims, Catholics, Christians, we had Serbs, Croats and Bosnian-Serbs and we had Muslim Croatian and so on, it was far more complex than the problems in Ukraine. The Dayton Agreements easily could be implemented in Ukraine. It’s not that complicated, they should immediately stop fighting and decide to resolve it. People don’t want to kill each other for nothing. Can you see how foolish is this fight? If I look from outside of Ukraine, it looks foolish. But I think that Ukrainians which fight don’t think so, but I think if they get out of the fighting, they will find that it is stupid to kill each other for nothing!

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