The Minsk Peace Deal: Farce Or Sellout?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Paul Craig Roberts,

Judging by the report on RT I conclude that the Ukraine peace deal worked out in Minsk by Putin, Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko has little chance of success.

As Washington is not a partner to the Minsk peace deal, how can there be peace when Washington has made policy decisions to escalate the conflict and to use the conflict as a proxy war between the US and Russia?

The Minsk agreement makes no reference to the announcement by Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, that Washington is sending a battalion of US troops to Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces how to fight against Russian and rebel forces. The training is scheduled to begin in March, about two weeks from now. Gen. Hodges says that it is very important to recognize that the Donetsk and Luhansk forces “are not separatists, these are proxies for President Putin.”

How is there a peace deal when Washington has plans underway to send arms and training to the US puppet government in Kiev?

Looking at the deal itself, it is set up to fail. The only parties to the deal who had to sign it are the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk break-away republics. The other signers to the Minsk deal are an OSCE representative which is the European group that is supposed to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides, a former Ukrainian president Viktor Kuchma, and the Russian ambassador in Kiev. Neither the German chancellor nor the French, Ukrainian, and Russian presidents who brokered the deal had to sign it.

In other words, the governments of Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia do not appear to be empowered or required to enforce the agreement. According to RT, “the declaration was not meant to be signed by the leaders, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.”

The terms of the agreement depend on actions of the Ukrainian parliament and prime minister, neither of which are under Poroshenko’s control, and Poroshenko himself is a figurehead under Washington’s control. Moreover, the Ukrainian military does not control the Nazi militias. As Washington and the right-wing elements in Ukraine want conflict with Russia, peace cannot be forthcoming.

The agreement is nothing but a list of expectations that have no chance of occurring.

One expectation is that Ukraine and the republics will negotiate terms for future local elections in the provinces that will bring them back under Ukraine’s legal control. The day after the local elections, but prior to the constitutional reform that provides the regions with autonomy, Kiev takes control of the borders with Ukraine and between the provinces. I read this as the total sell-out of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Apparently, that is the way the leaders of the republics see it as well, as Putin had to twist their arms in order to get their signatures to the agreement.


Another expectation is that Ukraine will adopt legislation on self-governance that would be acceptable to the republics and declare a general amnesty for the republics’ leaders and military forces.


Negotiations between Kiev and the autonomous areas are to take place that restore Kiev’s taxation of the autonomous areas and the provision of social payments and banking services to the autonomous areas.


After a comprehensive constitutional reform in Ukraine guaranteeing acceptable (and undefined) autonomy to the republics, Kiev will take control over the provinces’ borders with Russia.


By the end of 2015 Kiev will implement comprehensive constitutional reform that decentralizes the Ukrainian political system and provides privileges of autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.


Both Putin and Poroshenko are both reported as stating that the main thing achieved is a ceasefire starting on February 15.


The ceasefire is of no benefit to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics as they are prevailing in the conflict. Moreover, the deal requires the republics’ forces to give up territory and to pull back to the borders of last September and to eject fighters from France and other countries who have come to the aid of the break-away republics. In other words, the agreement erases all of Kiev’s losses from the conflict that Kiev initiated.

All of the risks of the agreement are imposed on the break-away republics and on Putin. The provinces are required to give up all their gains while Washington trains and arms Ukrainian forces to attack the provinces. The republics have to give up their security and trust Kiev long before Kiev votes, assuming it ever does, autonomy for the republics.

Moreover, if the one-sided terms of the Minsk agreement result in failure, Putin and the republics will be blamed.

Why would Putin make such a deal and force it on the republics? If the deal becomes a Russian sell-out of the republics, it will hurt Putin’s nationalist support within Russia and make it easier for Washington to weaken Putin and perhaps achieve regime change. It looks more like a surrender than a fair deal.

Perhaps Putin’s strategy is to give away every advantage in the expectation that the deal will fail, and the Russian government can say “we gave away the store and the deal still failed.”

Washington’s coup in Kiev and the attack on the Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east and south is part of Washington’s strategy to reassert its uni-power position. Russia’s independent foreign policy and Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe became problems for Washington. Washington is using Ukraine to attack and to demonize Russia and its leader and to break-up Russia’s economic and political relations with Europe. That is what the sanctions are about. A peace deal in Ukraine on any terms other than Washington’s is unacceptable to Washington. The only acceptable deal is a deal that is a defeat for Russia.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Russian government made a strategic mistake when it did not accept the requests of the break-away provinces to be united with Russia. The people in the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces favored unification with the same massive majorities that the people in Crimea showed. If the provinces had been united with Russia, it would have been the end of the conflict. Neither Ukraine nor Washington is going to attack Russian territory.

By failing to end the conflict by unification, Putin set himself up as the punching bag for Western propaganda. The consequence is that over the many months during which the conflict has been needlessly drawn out, Putin has had his image and reputation in the West destroyed. He is the “new Hitler.” He is “scheming to restore the Soviet Empire.” “Russia ranks with ebola and the Islamist State as the three greatest threats.” “RT is a terrorist organization like Boco Haram and the Islamist State.” And so on and on. This CNN interview with Obama conducted by Washington’s presstitute Fareed Zakaria shows the image of Putin based entirely on lies that rules in the West.

Putin could be no more demonized even if the Russian military had invaded Ukraine, conquered it, and reincorporated Ukraine in Russia of which Ukraine was part for centuries prior to the Soviet collapse and Ukraine’s separation from Russia at Washington’s insistence.

The Russian government might want to carefully consider whether Moscow is helping Washington to achieve another victory in Ukraine.

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Truther's picture

Obama.... A leunatic.

kaiserhoff's picture

Gays don't age well,

  like that's his biggest problem.

Greyhat's picture

Obama was not invited. This deal was about EU-Russian relations.

Imho they accepted that russia has to do the "nation rebuilding" work in Ukraine, but first they need to let the now ruling Maidan rebels look bad.

Ukraine right wing will never accept this:


Publicus's picture

To Kiev!


China will respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine!


All of Ukraine will be liberated from the fascists.

Greyhat's picture

Its still possible that Merkel and Hollande they try to f*ck Putin, but i dont think they will risk this.

fx's picture

This article is a very poor, third class analysis. I am far from gloryfying Putin, but this article assumes that this man is just a stupid moron. What he definitely is not. Minsk II is just another diplomatic battle in a protracted war (economic, political, military) that is far from over. The key to understand Putin's move is to think in the long term. The deal he (and the novorussians) agreed on is bound to fall apart right there in Kiev. While the West will certainly blame any failure to implement Minsk II on Moscow, this will be tough to do. But more important is the debalzewo cauldron. After all, Hollande and Merkel hurried to Moscow to strike a ceasefire deal precisely to save those 5000-8000 Ukrainian troups (likely containing also a substantial, but unknown number of Polish, French and Georgian mercenaries). But was anything in Minsk said towards Debalzewo? Not a single word! Now,  IF the Ukrainians try to break out of the cauldron the novorussians won't idly stand by.But those thousands of soldiers will run out of food pretty fast, so they either capitulate, leave without their weapons ot try to break out. In the latter case, Minsk II is history and Hollande/Merkel did achieve exactly zero of their objectives. Actually, even less than that. Because Putin demonstrated his willingness to end the bloodshed and scored some points in the propaganda war. While the cauldron and the threat to eliminate another 8000 ukrainian troups is still there (and various sources say that the troups there are among the best that the Ukrainians still have after all the losses they suffered.

Declaring Putin the loser here and blaming him to have caved in is at the minimum very premature.

hal10000's picture

A few points.  

Yes, given how the actual turnout rate for their conscription attempts is in the toilet (apparently it's 6%), it's quite likely that those trapped inside the cauldron will be a significant hit to the Ukie army.  Their winter offensive was a total catastrophe.  Which brings me to the second item to note.

Is the NAF going to cower in fear when a single batallion is giong to go to the Ukraine and train the Ukrainians?  What kind of threat is that?  It's not as if the Americans have done a good job anywhere and like they say, seventh time's a charm!  From iraq and Afghanistan, the Americans have been training Syrians in Jordan as well as Libyians.  I'm sure the Kremlin had a good laugh over that one.  All the Americans can teach the Ukrainians is how to botch a foreign occupation and eventually get driven out by the locals.

As for Putin being the loser, yes he actually is.  No matter how any of this turns out, (whatever is left of the) Ukraine will end up in NATO, right on more of the Russian border.  Putin is operating in a damage control mode.  Ultimately, he may lose the Ukrainian battle but may win the larger "war" as he might be playing the Afghan gambit by sucking in Western Europe and the USA into the failed state that is now Ukraine.

COSMOS's picture

How can he be a loser, he can got Crimea back (does not have to pay hundreds of millions in lease each year, plus he gets all the gas and oil deposits in the black sea, and one of the best tourist destinations in the world), and stands to get back Novorussia which has the best bits of the Ukraine pie (all the coal and steel, and gas and most factories).  The big losers are the Ukrainians in Kiev and Galicia.  They will end up with a much smaller Ukraine that is economically devastated and forced to suck the IMF dick while in Chains for the rest of their lives.  Welcome to the EU Galicia, enjoy the brothel life.  If the EU wants to support a nation of 40 million unemployed let them. It may well break up the EU when other countries have a fit as the Euro plunges to shit as they keep printing the fuck out of it bailing out the Greeks, Italians etc and paying for the Ukraine sluts.  Expect the Euro to be worth one third its current value in a few years.

angel_of_joy's picture

Ukraine might end up in NATO some day, but by that time it will probably have both the size and the relevance of Lithuania. In this case NATO might want to be really careful what it wishes for it just might become true...

Mountainview's picture

Highest probability, Ukraine falls into pieces like Yugoslavia did. US, EU and Russia will manage the pieces with their printing presses and spin...

ebworthen's picture

Putin is biding his time.

A good chess player leads the opponent in.  Obama and the U.S., the E.U., think they have pressure on him and a strategy.  Putin is waiting and nodding his head as he lets the West bungle and show their true colors.

I mean really, trying to set up a neo-Nazi putsch regime in the former capital of Russia?  Waterloo moment for the West, without even mentioning Stalingrad and what's his name.

caconhma's picture

ZH Putin's groupies don't want either understand  or believe that Putin and Russia have lost.

This was not Minsk II. It was/is Munich II. 

Now, like in 29 September 1938 when Czechoslovakia was invaded by Hitler, NATO/USA will invade Ukraine in preparation to destroy Russia. This was big win for the USA and China bud mostly for the USA.

As I stated many times, Putin will end up like Qaddafi or Saddam Hussein. 

ebworthen's picture

Sure, a people and a nation with hundreds and hundreds of years of repelling foreign invaders will just rollover for the corrupt backstabbing weasels of the West who betray their own people and principals.

It is the U.S. that has jumped the shark and betrayed everything it is supposed to stand for.

Europe is making the same mistakes it has made for the past 400 years.

Russia will not go down, and China is not an ally of the West.

What are you smoking?

scam_MERS's picture

caconhma, I agree 100%, Putler's days are numbered - he'll either be "suicided" or just be deposed overnight when no one expects it. He's already pissed off the entire world, now he's pissed off his butt buddies in the "DNR" and "LNR", useful idiots like Zacharenko and Pushilin - who are madder at Putie than the west after the percieved sell-out at Minsk-2. They're already pissing on the agreement that Putie made for them. Who knows? Maybe they'll wake up and Putie will find them on his doorstep, after crossing the conveniently open border he left for them to waltz right in...tanks can roll east as easily as west, y'know. Delicious irony...

winchester's picture
winchester (not verified) scam_MERS Feb 15, 2015 4:50 AM

pls, just...stfu and go

fx's picture

Ah, Nato will invade Ukraine and then Russia? I wonder which NATO member state will be willing to sacrficie a couple ten thousand men to take on Russia? make no mistake, if NATO really sets up shop in Ukraine, Russia will strike pre-emptively at any advanced military facility NATO is trying to build up. Things then could get nuclear and very ugly very fast. While the USA and Britain may not have any problem with that scenario, as long as their own soldiers and their own territory is kept out, the rest of Europe is not going to like it. Does anyone seriously believe that German or French voters and their governments will be willing to send their troops there just because the russophobs in Poland and the Baltic states demand it? Come on!

As for the USA, their big win was to orchestrate the regime change in Kiev. Everything after that didn't go as planned and hoped for and to claim that Minsk II was a victory for the US is more than a stretch. I mean, their puppet Poroshenko obviously didn't like to sign anything there. But yeah, a big U.S. victory....

TheReplacement's picture

Seems more like a hedged bet more than capitulation.  Russia has to know Right Sector setup an alternate command structure and has vowed to not abide by the deal - not to mention to fairly well known divisions within the so called junta.  They win and Ukraine will fall into genuine civil war.  They lose and Ukraine holds it together, some-miraculous-how, and the republics are incorporated.

Donbass isn't really all that important at this stage.  Keeping the war going is.  Does it really matter to the west if the war is in east or west Ukraine?  Russians are betting is doesn't.

Payne's picture

The self importance of politicians.

supercelld's picture
supercelld (not verified) Truther Feb 15, 2015 4:20 AM

I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do...

trader1's picture

Have some hope for the human race, at least just once, PCR.

Stop going manic depressive all the time!

bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

What is human? What is civil? Is civility human nature? If you could unbound, would you?
The oceans are all but dead, toxins are omnipreasent, and chemically addalled representitives believe they are gods of men. You trade on a shadow of a thing that you can not see. Plato's cave rules the days now more then ever.
To know all this and still call a tree a tree takes a greater effort of mind and sprit then the papers would have you believe.

Harbanger's picture

That's so deep dude.  I need to roll another joint.

trader1's picture
“[T]his readiness to assume the guilt for the threats to our environment is deceptively reassuring: We like to be guilty since, if we are guilty, it all depends on us. We pull the strings of the catastrophe, so we can also save ourselves simply by changing our lives. What is really hard for us (at least in the West) to accept is that we are reduced to the role of a passive observer who sits and watches what our fate will be. To avoid this impotence, we engage in frantic, obsessive activities. We recycle old paper, we buy organic food, we install long-lasting light bulbs—whatever—just so we can be sure that we are doing something. We make our individual contribution like the soccer fan who supports his team in front of a TV screen at home, shouting and jumping from his seat, in the belief that this will somehow influence the game's outcome.”

Slavoj Žižek

LetThemEatRand's picture

Did anyone else notice that supposed conservative white knight Ted Cruz is a co-sponsor of the bill to send arms to Ukraine?  And here I thought I was a conspiracy theorist thinking that his Goldman Sachs wife suggested that maybe his words are meaningless.

Berspankme's picture

Yep but I crossed him off the list long ago

Truther's picture

He's a Farce... A total Farce

August's picture

Ted is a lot like Rush Limbaugh, but without the integrity.

Harbanger's picture

Some people say ZH is libertarian, truth is, ZH is full of progressive douchebags.

Pure Evil's picture

Is that a shot across the bow of a certain someone that like's to eat Randian pussy willow pie?

LetThemEatRand's picture

Simple rule it took me a long time to learn.  If they made it to national office, don't pay any attention whatsoever to what they say.  They work for the bankers/oligarchs.  Same goes for Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul.  

Alberich's picture

True enough in all cases but Ron Paul's. He was consistently antiwar when he held national office, and he is still consistently outspoken even though his son is running for national office on the neocon platform. Now what are we to make of that??

g'kar's picture

Ted Cruz's wife's connection to Goldman Sachs made me take a step back

angel_of_joy's picture

Another simple rule: government (any government) always lies. It may not be always true, but it is true in well over 50% of the cases. Which makes it an useful though basic rule of thumb...

Harbanger's picture

I need to start challenging you again Lola.  I thought you said you were leaving?  how many times did you say that now?  You're the Brian Williams of ZH.

Pure Evil's picture

Don't be to hard the beave Ward.

He's got Rand's pubic hair stuck in his teeth and whenever he smiles it looks as if he needs to shave.

Payne's picture

Sending weapons will be useless without Putins response.  No one really wants to use them with any brains.

US forces have no real interest in fighting.  You can always convince the fighter jocks to drop bombs.

TheReplacement's picture

Yeah but he's totally against everything Obama does, except he never wins THOSE fights.

Harbanger's picture

It's not about conservative/liberal, Lola.  Ted Cruz is no different than Fuckacuntas Warren.  I see some good/deep conversations in our future.  Happy Valentines day BABE!  Still love you.

Truther's picture

Merkel is bad looking tomatoe.... A sun dried tomatoe for that.

buzzsaw99's picture

inhofe has pictures of the whole thing /s

Truther's picture

Including the one with Big O on Mouchelle's bike?

blindman's picture

he has the same resource connections colin powell
had back in 2002, the ideological fabrication mill.
Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.
Colin Powell

TheReplacement's picture

Rather astounding really.  When I saw those pictures I immediately recognized them from Georgia.  Those pictures were used in every MSM story about the Russian invasion there.  I wonder if he was ever in a helo with Brian.

Truther's picture

And Holland " the french fry", is asking as in this photo: ""What the fuck am I doing here?"

August's picture

Providing the fig leaf that this deal isn't strictly between Russia and Germany.

TheReplacement's picture

Clearing the way for Mistral delivery.

Whalley World's picture

Pardon me but since 911 are they not referred to as freedom fries?