Poroshenko, having previously said that there would be no special conditions for Russia in the repayment of debts, announced three scenarios on the Donbass according to the Junta.
“The first—a decisive military offensive, the liberation of the territories and a march on Moscow. Who among us is suggesting this? Just take a look at the consequences of such adventurous and irresponsible liberations. And the people do not support this position.
“The second position—build a wall, give up part of the territory, live without the Donbass,” he said, noting that, “as the head of state, he has no intention to give away even a single piece of Ukrainian land.”
The third option, according to the President, is “the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty and Ukrainian authorities in that territory.” “This path is called—Minsk agreements,” Poroshenko specified.
Furthermore, he commented on anti-Russian sanctions calling them “the price for aggression against Ukraine.” “Russia’s gross domestic product is falling, world oil prices have fallen, Russia is today drastically reducing social payments,” said the President. In his words, Kiev persuaded the entire world that “Ukraine is implementing the obligations to the full, while Russia is lying.” “We have won confidence, the attitude towards Ukraine is different from what it was a year ago. We complied with our obligations in initiating the constitutional process,” said the president.
In addition to the above he said that in the case of elections in the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR), Kiev will demand tougher sanctions against Russia. “There is a risk that, on October 18 or November 1, the occupational authorities may stage illegal elections. This is very dangerous for the Minsk agreements,” the President was quoted as saying by TASS agency.
PS: As we have said before, the elections are going to be a point of bifurcation in the development of the situation in the Donbass; how they take place, and in what form, will determine the future of the Minsk process too. Russia is already undergoing a serious pressure through diplomatic channels and is being threatened with new sanctions if the elections are held. In fact anything at all will be demanded of Russia in order either to give the elections up completely or to hold them strictly according to Ukrainian laws and with Ukrainian political parties. These demands will be sounded in Kiev, in Brussels and in Washington. Thus the nearer the date of the elections gets (if Russia does not retreat), the more intense the events will become, since staging the local elections will mean one more landmark step towards the separation of the Donbass from Ukraine.
PS2: Regarding the information from this post, General Petrovsky reported that he himself and Bezler will be among the four mentioned commanders who will soon return to Novorossiya. If nothing goes wrong, and these people do return, everybody understands that they will not be returning for peaceful activities. We will see.
PS3: Regarding the ongoing commotion about Purgin’s “resignation”. Once more—I personally do not care who is going to be the winner, because either one of them or the other the same course will be followed, which can be carried out either with Pushilin and Purgin, or with either one of them or the other, or without either of them. People continue stubbornly to refuse to understand that it is not Donetsk that determines the Minsk course. Donetsk implements it. In the same way as Kiev is forced to implement it. Removing functionaries from the process does not change the process itself because these people have nothing to do with the strategic decision-making which takes place in very different places. For example, Nalivaychenko was removed from his post as head of the SBU [Security Service of Ukraine –ed.]—did the department become less controlled by the USA? Does anyone believe that rearrangements in Donetsk implemented from above lead to a loss of controllability?
Thus I am just calmly watching the whole internet war for and against Purgin. Sometimes I agree with his defenders, sometimes I agree with his opponents or fully agree with Pushilin’s critics. But seriously discussing non-independent political functionaries who decide nothing is, in my opinion, a little naïve.
Anyway, Purgin can find support in Moscow, his lobbyists can get into the Parliament or Lubyanka. They will be told: “He can still be useful to us,” then there will be a phone call to Donetsk and Purgin will return to the same position or can get a different one. It will not influence the general course of the DPR. In the opposite situation, when Purgin’s lobbyists find no support in Moscow, the same Minsk path will be voiced by Pushilin (ah, I do not envy those who have to promote such people—I already had a chance to hear an amusing aside that “Pushilin got his management experience from his MMM past” [MMM was a notorious Ponzi pyramid scheme in Russia in the ’90s –ed.]). Precisely, he will voice it, but not determine it. So there is no great difference in the context of the general policy of the DPR.
Of all the personalities, only Zakharchenko is interesting—rumors of his resignation due to “ill health” have been circulating for a long while, but he remains in his post. Regarding allegations that Zakharchenko told Surkov to f__k off at a meeting—I cannot say anything, I was not there and know nothing.
Zakharchenko, like Purgin and Pushilin, has always actively pursued the Minsk path, though, as is know, he occasionally bucked against it (the unauthorized operation near Mariinka is very memorable). The fact that there are disagreements between adherents of the Minsk course in the DPR is a reflection of the fact that the Minsk process is stalled and therefore the people who are executing it are under threat. Zakharchenko’s future naturally also depends on decisions made in Moscow. If it is decided there that the leader has to be changed, somehow he will be changed. If Zakharchenko remains the best option he will get serious enough support not to be changed for Purgin, Pushilin or Khodakovsky.
PS4: Regarding the overall situation. At the moment the situation is a bit different. The Donbass has for a while been a hostage of the cold war between the USA and Russia. This is neither good nor bad, it is just how it is. This war is not going to end soon. Those who naively think everything is going to end in 2015 will be unpleasantly surprised when it will be 2016 and the conflict will still be going.
The romantic phase of war ended in September last year. Now come the tough Minsk days with lots of blood, dirt and s__t, and the people there are now fighting so that the post-war peace (and the goal in any war is that the peace will be better than the status quo ante, at least from one’s own point of view) will eventually seem like a victory and not a defeat, without even being able to see any clear outlines. These people, many of whom are now there at the front, have shed enough blood to have earned the right to independence for the Donbass. In this context the people’s power did not succeed because of certain well-known reasons relating to oligarchy in the Donbass. But the national liberation uprising led to certain results. Two unrecognized republics emerged and they gained in battle the right to build their future separate from Ukraine. even though the “popular” principle appeared rather restricted in them.
Some people say—I will not support the Donbass if it is not the way I wanted it. Well, no, it is not the way they wanted it and in some respects it is a very long way away from that.
But do you think that the people who have been fighting and dying for a year and a half do not deserve your support? They are not going to disappear anywhere. They will be there tomorrow, sitting in their trenches and their pillboxes, even under fire. And the day after. And a month after. And in the following year. Because the thing they are fighting and dying for—in spite of all “buts”—is right.
Petro Poroshenko’s three options concretize the new military doctrine of Ukraine, which names Russia as an enemy.
In Poroshenko’s interpretation, Ukraine’s primary goal is the solution of the problem of the Donbass, which he offers to resolve in one of three ways.
First—a decisive military offensive, followed by crossing the frontier and transferring hostilities onto the territory of Russia. The target is Moscow. Note that, even in this in-all-respects wild option, Poroshenko clearly understands that the war cannot be waged just like that. It must always have an ultimate (and, by implication, uncompromising) goal—inflicting military defeat on the enemy and, only then, dictating ultimatums as conditions of his surrender. He understands this, unlike his friends in the Kremlin who betrayed all three recent military victories of the Russian Army (in Chechnya, in Georgia and in Ukraine in the summer of 2014), surrendered them and exchanged them for a peace humiliating for Russia, and which in any case does not appear to be lasting.
The second way—separation of the Donbass from Ukraine, its blockade, and preservation of the situation until the moment when you can once again begin to take more decisive action.
Third—the Minsk Agreement itself, under which, by the end of this year, Kiev will have to take control of the entire border with Russia and restore Ukrainian jurisdiction over the region.
In principle, Poroshenko is once again bargaining, demonstrating to the Kremlin that the Minsk Agreements, even though they are a perfectly acceptable way of solving the problems, are not the only path that Kiev can follow. Either Minsk on Kiev’s terms—or else I warned you… There is also another recipient of Poroshenko’s message—the West. In case of the Minsk Agreement’s failure (which cannot be ruled out until the very last day when the last inch of the border is under Ukrainian control), Kiev washes its hands and demonstrates the inability of the “partners” to reach any agreement.
For now one can certainly say that Minsk is, to Kiev, the preferred method of recapturing the Donbass. The “Putin plan”, hastily scribbled ‘on the knee’, contains a large number of gaps, which, by default, were decided to be resolved in due course by mutual concessions; but both “partners” are interpreting the extent of this mutuality very broadly, and each in their own favour. That, in fact, is the cause of the constant disputes. In general, the greater part of Russian plans are being prepared either ‘on the knee’ or on the back of a cigarette packet—both Minsk collusions, the Turkish Stream or the plan to build the Kerch bridge. No wonder that as a result of the clogged piles disappearing into the abyss [a reference to problems with the construction of the bridge over the Kerch Strait –ed.], the partners abandon their commitments, and four gas pipelines become one…
The Minsk collusion, in this context, cannot be a happy exception to the general rule; and Poroshenko reasonably expects that he will be able to pressure his “partner”, understanding perfectly well the trap that Putin has driven himself into with his incompetent policies.
In this sense, Poroshenko’s “three options” continue to remain only one—the other two still look like outright bluff, although one cannot exclude the possibility that the bluff could, in some modification, be realized. While there is still time available—up to the autumn elections—Kiev will continue to threaten and to bluff. A local coup in Donetsk only strengthens Kiev’s conviction that its chosen strategy is correct and effective. Pushilin symbolises betrayal in its purest form, and, in a sense, the Kremlin is giving Poroshenko a signal too—that he should not be too worried since he is dealing with decent people who keep their word.