Guest post by Brad Cabana. Original article can be found at Rock Solid Politics:
Two hours ago the powers of Europe and Russia, along with Ukraine and representatives of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, signed a new “peace deal” in Minsk. Problem is…it’s not new. In fact, it’s a regurgitated version of the first one that failed so miserably. Here’s why the first one failed and the second one will as well.
1. The war in Ukraine has been witness to war crimes enmasse. Thousands of civilians have been slaughtered by the Ukraine army, and many more thousands have been maimed for life. During the first few months of the war, a deal like Minsk may have worked. After a year of the national government turning the guns of war against “its own” cities and villages the blood and destruction is far too great. Then there are the thousands of dead and wounded troops on either side. And their families. Are they supposed to submit to an agreement that allows the Ukrainian government to rule over them once more after such massive human rights abuses?
Almost as astonishing, the new Minsk deal calls for those who were responsible for these crimes against humanity to be pardoned from prosecution. An action that leaves human spirit betrayed. It defies the basic tenants of justice in the most vile way. A politically expedient hand shake that washes the blood of tens of thousands from the hands of those responsible.
2. The agreement ignores the referendums held by the people of Donetsk and Luhansk. It effectively ignores their democratic wish to be separate from Ukraine. That type of expression of will cannot be washed away with the stroke of a pen. It remains in the hearts and minds of the people. It was an expression of their will. A will that has been tossed to the wind again for political expediency. A betrayal of their collective hopes and aspirations.
3. Ukraine retakes its border with Russia effectively leaving the people of Novorossyia trapped and separated from their “guarantor” Russia. That leaves the door open for Ukraine to reverse all the battlefield losses they have suffered in the last year, and free to implement their will against the people of Donetsk and Luhansk.
4. The provisions for decentralization of powers and “special status” for Donetsk and Luhansk are left meaningless as Ukraine President Poroshenko so blatantly showed by declaring Ukraine will not federalize at a press conference held before he even left the venue of the talks. In other words, a meaningless promise.
5. Disarming of the military forces of Donetsk and Luhansk. The only real guarantor of security, safety, and defender of the will of the people of Donetsk and Luhansk. In other words, the very army that has been shelling their cities and villages will now be patrolling their streets. In other words, they will become occupied by their oppressors. Distasteful to any person with a shred of human dignity and pride.
The list goes on and on. Minsk 2.0 is nothing but a shallow, “diplomatic” attempt to appease the interests of Russia and Ukraine while ignoring those central to the equation: the people of Luhansk and Donetsk. A betrayal. An insult. Such an agreement can never have a long shelf life. It is doomed to failure because it ignores the human will and its need to see “justice done”. Such an agreement leaves the wounds of war to fester and breeds deep routed hatred and resentment. It is not honourable and it is not practical. It is but a grand gesture, in a grand hall, that disrespects honour, sacrifice, and the human will to be free of one’s oppressor. Shame on all involved.