Donbass Ceasefire: Relative Calm Before the Storm?

Donbass Ceasefire: Relative Calm Before the Storm?
by Stephen Lendman
Minsk II may be remembered as an interregnum moment before greater conflict resumes. It bears repeating what other articles stressed.
Donbass is Obama’s war. He didn’t launch it to quit. Stop NATO reports America’s Air Force preparing to support Eastern European ground war.
Beefing up US military forces near Russia’s borders spells trouble. Ukraine remains in the eye of the storm.
It’s just a matter of time before conflict resumes. Donetsk People’s Republic Prime Minister Aleksander Zakharchenko sees what’s coming.
He predicts trouble saying “(w)e are beginning the withdrawal of heavy equipment, while Ukraine is bringing it up from Kharkov and Dnepropetrovsk.” 
“(T)here will be a provocation. Ukraine will go to war in late March or Early April. Ukraine needs war.”
Obama wants Donbass democracy destroyed, fascist rule solidified nationwide, unchallenged control over America’s newest colony, using it for direct confrontation with Russia.
Meanwhile, Lavrov arrived in Paris for more talks on Ukraine with his French, German and Kiev counterparts. Focus will be on implementing Minsk terms.
Kiev violated earlier ceasefire agreements straightaway. It already violated Minsk II multiple times. 
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov America supplying Ukraine with weapons and munitions violates Minsk and will “explode the whole situation.”
Russia can’t remain indifferent “to such provocative actions. We’ll have to respond appropriately.”
“Is that necessary for those who are allegedly calling for the normalization of the situation in Ukraine?” 
“I have serious doubts. People may be irresponsible in their actions, but there must be an end to this madness (of) indulging Kiev’s warmongering.”
Washington supplied Kiev with heavy weapons and munitions since conflict began last April. NATO planes deliver more daily.
US policy remains unchanged. On Monday, Zakharchenko said “large-scale” US weapons and munitions continue to be supplied. Kiev wants war, not peace, he added. 
Commenting on Rossiya 1 TV, Putin said he believes Merkel and Hollande “have a genuine desire to find…compromise solutions that would lead to…final (conflict) settlement…”
“I had the impression that our partners have more trust in us than distrust, and in any case believe in our sincerity.”
Peace serves Russian, German and French interests. War benefits America. It remains to be seen which choice Merkel and Hollande make. 
They appear leaning the right way. War in Europe’s heartland threatens their security. They have every reason to want it prevented.
Russian State Television and Radio Company (VGTRK) interviewed Putin. He called war with Ukraine unlikely.
He “hope(s) it never comes to that. He supports “ensur(ing) the lawful rights and interests of the people living in Donbass.”
It requires implementing the letter and spirit of Minsk. Russian troops aren’t involved in Donbass, he stressed. No evidence suggests otherwise.
“(H)igh-ranking officials in the Ukrainian army” say so. Its “General Staff” head said “(w)e are not fighting against the Russian army.”
Irresponsibly blaming Russia for “fanning the conflict” runs counter to Minsk terms seeking peace.
No one needs war in Europe, Putin stressed. War-mongers alone benefit. He hopes Minsk will be fully implemented.
He calls it “a reliable path toward normalizing the situation in this part of Ukraine.”
He knows the alternative could be catastrophic. Meanwhile, Poroshenko’s tough talk isn’t encouraging.
He ludicrously vows to regain control of Crimea now Russia territory. In Monday tweets he said “Ukraine will regain control of occupied Crimea.”
Calling it “inevitable” he promised “Ukraine will never give up its sovereign rights.” He rejected near Crimean unanimity to rejoin Russia – to correct a historic mistake.
At the same time, Ukraine’s military suffered a crushing defeat. Its economy is collapsing.
Its enterprises aren’t functioning. Its currency is in free fall – down another 10% on Monday. Its bonds are trading at about 40 cents to the dollar.
Coal mines are being shut. Growing numbers of Ukrainians are unemployed. If Ukraine had a misery index, it would show record levels.
Rebel spokesman Eduard Basurin said heavy self-defense force weapons are being withdrawn from frontline positions. 
On Monday, more than 30 heavy artillery pieces were pulled out. So far, Ukrainian forces haven’t responded in kind.
Absurdly claiming they being attacked despite no evidence proving it. Basurin debunked Kiev propaganda claiming rebel attacks.
On Monday, he said “(a)t the moment all is quiet. There is no shelling.” RT International reported ceasefire conditions largely holding.
Not according to British Prime Minister David Cameron. He lied saying:
“Far from changing course, Russia’s totally unjustifiable and illegal actions in eastern Ukraine have reached a new level with the separatists’ blatant breach of the ceasefire.”
One year post-Maidan, conditions are horrific. Growing numbers of Ukrainians hoping promises made would be fulfilled know they were betrayed.
Out of the frying pan into the fire best describes things. Nothing ahead looks promising. 
Policies instituted only benefit Western monied interests, Ukrainian oligarchs, war-mongers, military commanders on the take, and corrupt regime officials grabbing all they can while they can.
Professor Vlad Sobell correctly called “(t)he Maidan revolution and its consequences…an unmitigated man-made disaster.”
In 12 short months, Ukraine was “brought to its knees. The economy is bankrupt.” 
“Output is falling rapidly. The hryvnya (currency) has nosedived. The political system is once again paralyzed, and the country is de-facto partitioned.”
Irresponsible governance made Ukraine “economically (and politically) dysfunctional” – surviving on the dole.
Ukrainians were betrayed. They’ve been “horribly exploited” said Sobell. Things are far worse than before.
At the same time, Western monied interests are “engage(d) in an orgy of asset stripping – taking what it wants of Ukraine’s ‘family silver’ – under the pretext of the need for privatization.”
Stealing the country blind. Human tragedy in Donbass compounds things. German intelligence estimates 50,000 killed – 10 times the lowball UN number.
Over a million were internally or externally displaced. Hundreds of thousands sought save haven in Russia.
Sobell notes “huge numbers…maimed, traumatized for life and/or permanently displaced.”
Ukraine is one of Obama’s many genocidal high crimes against peace. His rap sheet makes most despots blush.
Nazism’s reemergence in Europe’s heartland risks greater war than already. Preventing it depends on EU leaders abandoning America’s imperial project once and for all.
A previous article said Putin told Merkel and Hollande their choice is between combining Russian resources and EU technology for greater prosperity and peace or remaining tied to Washington’s war machine risking nuclear armageddon in Europe’s heartland.
It remains to be seen if they’ll choose sanity over madness.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at 
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

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