New tunes out of NATO: Not the arch enemy Russia but the EU sponsored government in Kiev is being called upon by NATO to abide to the Minsk agreements. This might have something to do with the soon to be established cooperation between Russia and the USA in Syria.
This article originally appeared at DWN, translated by Frank Jakob exclusively for SouthFront
NATO General-Secretary Jens Stoltenberg demanded that Kiev would stick to the peace plan for war-torn Donbass. “It is extremely important for Ukraine to continue to put through all aspects of the Minsk agreements”, he said on Tuesday in Kiev. There would be no other solution to the conflict, he added. Stoltenberg was the first head of NATO to participate in a meeting of the Ukrainian security council. After that he signed an agreement for a planned NATO embassy in Kiev.
President Petro Poroshenko reiterated plans for a referendum about a possible NATO-membership of the former soviet republic. “Technically speaking we are no member of NATO, but de facto we are more than just partners”, Poroshenko emphasized.
The ceasefire between government troops and the rebels is more or less holding since the beginning of September. THE OSCE is worried that the civilians in Donbass will be exposed to the extreme cold during winter without being able to adequately protect themselves. The water pipes in the whole regions are practically all destroyed, a lot of areas have been mined. The OSCE demanded a few days ago that Ukraine would order the army to retreat so that the population in the rebel controlled areas could at least partly repair some of the damages.
However, there is still no agreement about the negotiated retraction of weapons from the front line as well as about local elections in the Donbass in accordance to Ukrainian law. The rebels showed the willingness to compromise and stated that the elections that were planned for the 18th of October and 1st of November could be postponed to February. The Ukrainian contact group wanted to discuss a potential peace plan in the Belorussian capital of Minsk on Tuesday.
German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was convinced that the war in Ukraine could be contained, at least in the short-term. In the meantime Americans and Russians seem to have reached an agreement to cooperate in Syria. Neither one of the two superpowers seems to be able to gain much in Ukraine at the moment. The EU taxpayer took over which seems to cool off the conflict for now.
The ordered retreat of NATO-communications is mainly a tactical measure as the installment of a NATO embassy in Kiev shows. Just now the Americans started to station new nuclear weapons in Germany which Russia sees as a provocative measure. The German parliament explicitly refused American nuclear weapons a few years ago. But chancellor Angela Merkel thought this to be the best way – something that needlessly weakens Germanys role as a mediator in the Ukrainian conflict.
The biggest insecurity in the short-term is the highly fragile policital situation in Ukraine. Just a few days ago a high-ranking right-wing extremist was killed in an explosion. The right-wing radicals have sworn revenge. It is to be expected that the civil war will shift to western Ukraine in the future.
Additionally, the regional power of the right-wing radicals is capable of further escalating the conflict with Russia: The radicals, which have free movement in lots of areas and are not forced by the government to abide to any laws, blocked highways that connect Crimea with Ukraine’s east. The blockade, which according to Ukraine Today is being supported by the Tartars, could lead to supply shortages in winter.