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On July 27, a next “complete and all-encompassing ceasefire” between Kiev troops and self-defense forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) started in eastern Ukraine. This is the most recent in a series of attempts to impose a complete ceasefire in the region.
Over two dozen previous ceasefires collapsed due to two main factors:
- First, the inability of Kiev to control its own troops, including neo-Nazi armed groups, that are deployed on the frontline with the LPR and the DPR;
- Second, the unwillingness of Kiev to support a political solution of the conflict with the DPR and LPR because the Ukrainian government uses military tensions in eastern Ukraine to achieve its own political and financial goals, including the justification of selling of the country’s sovereignty to the Euro-Atlantic structures, the mass censorship, and the persecution of opposition parties, media and activists.
The ability of the Ukrainian military to participate in ceasefires was recently demonstrated near the village of Zaitsevo. On July 14, a sabotage and reconnaissance unit of pro-Kiev forces violated the ceasefire regime entering the ‘gray zone’ preparing an attack on positions of DPR forces. However, the operation failed. At least 2 pro-Kiev fighters, including a citizen of Estonia, died and another one received injures. After this, Ukrainian media outlets launched an aggressive media campaign accusing the DPR of violating the ceasefire and Russia of committing one more ‘act of aggression’.
However, the Ukrainian leadership represented by President comedian Volodymyr Zelenski pretends that this time the situation will be different.
On July 26, Zelensky held a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin discussing the prospects of the ceasefire. The sides also discussed the Law on the Special Procedure for Local Self-Government in Certain Districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, which is being considered by the TCG political subgroup, and the Law on Decentralization, which provides for amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine.
Russia is the main supporter of the DPR and LPR and the only force directly opposing plans of Kiev and its NATO backers to launch a new large-scale advance in eastern Ukraine, which in the event of military success will inevitably lead to the mass killings of civilians there.
An overwhelming majority of the people in eastern Ukraine are ethnic Russians or speak Russian as the main language. All of them self-identify as Russian-speaking people.
Since the very moment, when the current political regime in Kiev came to power in 2014, Russian-speaking people and ethnic Russians were declared enemies of the state and ‘subhumans’ that must be neutralized or even killed in order to allow Ukraine to go forward on its ‘European way’. This policy faced an expected armed resistance leading to a civil war in the region of Donbass. Crimea evaded the bloodbath thanks to the involvement of Russian forces and the secession of the region to Russia.
In 2020, the ideas of ethnic cleansing of Russians and persecutions of the Russian-speaking population in the region of Donbass and Crimea still remained an integral part of the Ukrainian political mainstream and the ideology of various radical groups that receive direct financial, administrative support from the current regime and have access to weapons from the conflict zone.
The political process and constitutional reforms needed to de-escalate the situation in the east and grant autonomy to the DPR and LPR face strong resistance on the all levels of the governance system. Radicals attack independent journalists, bloggers, political activists, politicians and even people that visit the ‘wrong churches’.
On July 23, the house of Vitaly Shabunin, the head of the non-profit Anti-Corruption Action Centre, was set on fire. The Centre said it believed the arson was “an assassination attempt” targeting Shabunin and his family. The incident happened in the village of Gnidyn just outside Kiev.
On July 13, members of the “National Corps” political party (created on the basis of the “Azov Battalion” neo-Nazi armed group) attacked a house of the head of the opposition Shariy Party in Kharkov. According to the head of the party, Anatoly Shariy, the attackers were armed with firearms and injured at least 2 people. Earlier, on June 24, members of the “National Corps” attacked and beat an activist of the Shariy Party in the same city – Nikita Rojenko. After the attack, the man was in critical condition.
On July 26, Ukrainian radicals and supporters of the government-backed ‘independent’ Orthodox Church of Ukraine seized churches of the canonic Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) in the villages of Novojivotove, Zabolotsy in Volyn Region. Police and local authorities in fact support the seizure violating the people’s right to freedom of faith.
The aggressive minority of political and religious radicals, including open supporters of neo-Nazy-styled ideology, with help from the government terrorize the peaceful population. This situation is encouraged by Kiev and its Western backers.
During the past months, top Ukrainian officials regularly criticized the Minsk agreements, proposed to withdraw from them or revise them to meet the vision of the situation by the current regime. The core of the contradictions over the Minsk deal is simple. Kiev seeks to gain control over the border with Russia and the entire territory of the DPR and LPR before the implementation of the political part of Minsk. In practice, this will mean the surrender of the DPR and LPR to pro-Kiev forces, the ‘neutralization’ of DPR and LPR resistance by force (likely with direct help from NATO) and mass killings and terrorizing of local populations by pro-Kiev radicals. The DPR, LPR leadership and population are apparently not interested in this scenario. Russia, for which the advance of Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine will mean millions of refugees and a humanitarian catastrophe on its own border, also cannot allow this.
As to European backers of Kiev, they seem to be also not happy with attempts of the Poroshenko and then Zelensky administrations to speculate on the escalation scenario to gain additional funding and political support from the European Union. This is especially clear from actions of leaders of European states like France and Germany. Meanwhile, the European bureaucracy affiliated with the Washington establishment play into the hands of the Ukrainian ‘instigators of war’.
These forces are not interested in the settlement of the conflict in eastern Europe because they use it as a pressure point in their efforts to suppress the resistance of national states, which increased amid the crumbling dominance of globalists. These contradictions, especially taking into account the US dominance over the Ukrainian leadership, raise serious concerns about the real motivation behind the recent political maneuvers of the Zelensky administration. However, most likely, the explanation is even more complex.
Ukraine is experiencing a deepening crisis that came amid the decreasing direct financial support from its foreign backers. During the past years, ‘European partners’ already decreased their support to Kiev, which was fueling fires of war in the interests of its own corrupt system and the Washington establishment. The modern US, led by the Trump administration, is also not interested in any large-scale investments in Kiev adventures against Russia or funding the Ukrainian ‘economic miracle’ for propaganda purposes.
Taking into account the global economic crisis and the expected second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, it is unlikely that foreign support to Kiev will increase anytime soon. It will be a gift if the Ukrainian leadership continues receiving foreign support at least at the current level. Therefore, the Zelensky administration is forced to at least formally search for ways that would allow the country to reduce its economic needs. The de-escalation of the conflict in the east is one of such opportunity.
On the other hand, from the political point of view, the ceasefire is needed for Zelensky to at least temporarily stabilize his approval rating which is falling dramatically. He came to power thanks to peace-making slogans, promises to contain censorship, street violence, and battle corruption. However, none of these things have happened. Instead, Zelensky immediately turned into Poroshenko 2.0 and his administration funds Poroshenko-era paramilitary groups to use them against its opponents.
By supporting the ceasefire initiative, Kiev also tries to please European partners that have been pressuring the regime to finally making at least some actions in the framework of the Minsk format. At the same time, the Zelensky administration understands that any laws or amendments to the Constitution granting the LPR and the DPR real autonomy and defending rights of the local population will not pass the Parliament. Therefore, interests of the Washington establishment, not interested in the de-escalation, will be secured.
The situation in Ukraine will likely remain in a state of a stable instability until the presidential election in the United States. If President Trump keeps his post, the Ukrainian conflict will likely remain frozen with Kiev forced to make at least some steps to de-escalate conflict, overcome the crisis and guarantee its own survival. At the same time, if the Democratic establishment once again comes to power in Washington, the frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine will have increasingly high chances of turning into a hot war zone once again.