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The Kremlin acts on the diplomatic world arena, based on the principle “The best defense is attack”.
It is no secret to anyone in the West that under Putin Russia has become an aggressor country, which, while the whole world is trying to find a solution to global problems, only exacerbates them. Chekist Putin needs the image of an external enemy, traditionally represented by the “rotting West”, otherwise his empire on the ruins of the USSR will scatter like a house of cards from the first blowing of protests of ordinary Russians.
Another round of information war that Russia is waging against Ukraine and all Europe was the convening of a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on 18 February. De – jure to discuss the Minsk agreements, De facto- to intimidate Ukraine and Europe.
The irony is that under the UN Charter, the Security Council is primarily responsible for the maintenance of international peace and security, but one of its permanent members is the aggressor country, Russia, as the successor to the USSR. By the way, this status will be questioned due to the dissenting opinion of one of the judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, who stated that the Russian state was created not as a successor of the Soviet Union, but “instead and against” it.
On the eve of the meeting, the Kremlin became more active in the information space, actively spreading fakes through the paid “drain cisterns”. In Moscow, they said that all Ukrainian prosecutors involved in the investigation of the crash of the MN17 flight had been suspended by the Netherlands, although there was in fact an ordinary rotation. Again, there was a version that there were no Buk installations in Donbass, and from somewhere there appeared a “witness” who stated that he had seen two Ukrainian military fighters in the area of the crash. Russian propaganda made a fake film about the MN17 catastrophe, in which the whole world allegedly falsified data to accuse Russia of the death of 283 passengers and 15 crew members.
In the east of Ukraine militants have become more active, every day there are losses among the Ukrainian military. For example, on Tuesday, February 18, on the day of the UN Security Council meeting on Minsk-2, during the battle near Novotoshkovskiy, Orekhovo and Krymskiy the Ukrainian servicemen have already died and were injured. The militants, controlled by Russia, attacked the positions of the Ukrainians in the area of ZolotoyLugansk region, where previously there was a separation of forces. The headquarters of the united forces operation officially confirmed Russia’s attack on the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Novotoshkovsky, Orekhovo, Krymsky and Khutor Volny.
Apparently, this is how Russia sees the implementation of the Minsk agreements…
In mid-December 2019, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the need to amend the Minsk agreements. He specified that this includes the issue of transferring the border under Kiev’s control.
Ukraine is ready to implement the political bloc provided that the quasi-groups LNR and DNR are disbanded and the ceasefire is complete. Kiev insists on the withdrawal of Russian armed forces and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine, as it is impossible to imagine fair and transparent elections at gunpoint. Safe conditions must be created for the work of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, political parties, media and foreign observers. Kiev draws attention to the need to establish control over the Russian-Ukrainian border, the importance of the work of the Special Monitoring Commission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Kiev has agreed to fix the “Steinmeyer formula” in Ukrainian legislation, but the election in Donbass “will be held, but not on any terms,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Volodymyr Pristaykosaid.
According to him, the election in the territories outside Kiev’s control should ideally be held in parallel with the local elections in Ukraine next autumn.
The head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry also said that the election was a local one, not a national one, so “no illegal groups in eastern Ukraine can take part in it.
Ukraine will start considering an alternative to the format of the Minsk agreements if the elections in Donbas are not held, or if it is impossible to hold them, or if the process of troop withdrawal is delayed. This does not mean that Kiev will withdraw from the general Minsk process. Ukraine may consider an alternative to the Minsk agreements if local elections are not held in the territories of Donbas that are not under Kiev’s control in 2020. Another condition under which Kiev can start looking for another format is too long a process of troop withdrawal.
One of the options for giving weight to the Normandy format and the Minsk agreements developed in its shells is to attract the guarantor countries of Ukraine’s security under the Budapest Memorandum – Great Britain and the United States.
The Ukrainian side emphasizes the need to implement PACE resolution of January 30, 2020, which contains a number of requirements to the Russian Federation. In particular, it refers to paragraph 4.9, which emphasizes the importance of Russia’s full compliance with the Minsk agreements, cessation of military invasion and support of illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine. Namely, a complete ceasefire, withdrawal of armed groups and military equipment from Donbass, restoration of control over the border – all these are the basic prerequisites for the start of the political process, including the elections.
Kiev is confident that they will be able to persuade Moscow to soften its position in exchange for easing sanctions. This confidence is probably based on the close contact that has been established between the newly appointed head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, Andriy Yermak, and the newly appointed deputy head of the Russian Presidential Administration, Kozak.
But even this does not indicate that Russia is ready to make such concessions. Moscow’s position is unchanged – the Minsk agreements should be implemented as beneficial to the Kremlin. The essence of things was stated by Girkin-Strelkov when he said that “Novorossiya” should be protected and the war with Ukraine should be won… …but not only to defend, it needs to be expanded and joined with Russia.