Originally appeared at A-specto, tranlsated by Valentina Tzoneva exclusively for SouthFront
On the 12th of August, the vice president of the USA, Joe Biden, during a telephone conversation, asked the Ukrainian leader, Petro Poroshenko, to fulfil his part of the commitments in order to avoid an escalation of tensions with Russia. A similar request was addressed to Moscow. On the same day, a telephone conversation was held between the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Pavel Klimkin, and his European counterpart, Federica Mogherini.
Mogherini stated that the EU will never recognise the annexation of Crimea and condemned the activities of the Russian authorities. She noted that the Euro-union will stay firm in its support for Ukraine and urged Russia and Ukraine to implement all clauses of the Minsk agreement.
It has to be noted, however, that none of the western states commented on the terrorist operation on Crimean territory, which in practice, buried future negotiations in the context of the ‘Normandy format’. At the same time, the Ukrainian press hysterically started discussing Ukraine’s preparation for war with Russia. Interesting news was that Poroshenko attempted to hold a telephone conversation with Putin. Judging by events, such conversation did not take place, but it became known that Moscow considered breaking diplomatic relations with Ukraine, which although not compulsory, does not exclude a declaration of war.
For now, the only facts for the organised terrorist act are based on the confession of one of the captured participants, Andrey Zahteya. In his testimony in the court of Simferopol, he identified Captain Vladimir Serdyuk – the head of intelligence of the 37th batallion, 56th brigade of the Head of Intelligence Services at the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine – as the organiser and leader of the terrorist group. Of course, this does not necessary mean that the official authorities in Kiev are behind the illegal network and the subversive act in Crimea. The uncertainty comes mainly from qualifying Ukraine as a “failed state” in the past, while now it has turned into “Mahnovska quasi-state”; in other words, the question is whether Poroshenko controls the armed para-military formation in the country, which has in recent times increased dangerously. And after all, does the President have any idea about what is happening in Ukraine? If the answer to these questions is “no”, then the consequences for the state and for him could be dramatic, and the terrorist act could have been planned by anyone on behalf of one of the intelligence services.
Suppose that Poroshenko, even partially, controls his banderos – this means that he either knew of the preparations for the provocation, or at the very least, he gave his blessing for it. Such activities from the side of the current Ukrainian power are not surprising. The very same power in the hands of the so-called “activists” exploded the pipeline in the Kherson district in order to create problems for the population and the economy of Crimea so that nothing could prevent the decision to terrorise Crimea.
There are probably two reasons motivating the authorities in Kiev to undertake such a risky move. One of them is the hope that the west will support them as the act of terrorism took place in Russia-“occupied” Ukrainian territory. The other reason is that Moscow will refrain from retaliatory measures which might involve her in a massive war with Ukraine and the west, respectively. Judging by the response from interested parties, Kiev’s expectations are not justified. Putin stated that there will be a “response” for the provocation from Kiev and for the killing of one of the servicemen of the Russian FSS (Federal Securty Service). Joe Biden’s reaction was moderate not because the USA has lost interest in Ukraine, but because the main task of the American administration is to keep the situation in Ukraine in the freezer until the presidential elections in the USA. Obviously after that, the new American president will make the decisions. In this case, a military response from Russia, which makes the crash of Ukraine unavoidable, is an extremely unacceptable option for America.
Only Mogherini made a rushed and emotional statement in support of the activities of the Ukrainian authorities, but it sounded lonely as the leaders of the European countries participating in the “Normandy format” did not comment on the event. The second reason which could be a motive for the softly-said strange action of Kiev is Poroshenko himself. For him the war is the only way to keep him in power. The problem is in the opposition between the president and, figuratively speaking, the “war activists” in Ukraine and at present it cannot be won by either side. Behind his back, Poroshenko has a quickly-declining but nonetheless still existing support from the west. The “war activists”, however, have at their disposal para-military formations thanks to which the current regime in Kiev got power and which over the last two-and-a-half years have multiplied tenfold. A balance between these two sides in deteriorating economic conditions in Ukraine cannot exist. Sooner or later someone will let the steam out.
Now, time is working against the Ukrainian president. Every day without real peace or a war with the nationalists, shortens the time for a possible military coup in Ukraine. Power will not be taken by generals and the Ukrainian army, but by commanders of the private armies. Poroshenko is not Erdogan and no one will come to protect him. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian President cannot afford a war with Russia because he will get an immediate response not only from Moscow, but from Luhansk and Donetsk, without having certainty that he will receive support from the west. The only comfort he can get at present is the “Minsk-3” negotiation process, which he is trying to delay in every way possible. But this is also not a solution as there is no obstacle for another president to sign it. Apart from that, the patience of the west is running short and the Ukrainian President must start doing something regarding the Minsk agreement because now, apart from “Minsk”, there is no alternative for achieving sustainable and solid peace in Ukraine.