Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Minsk Protocol as Brilliant Short-Term Sabotage and Achievement of the Impossible

  1.     .     What were originally just few paragraphs inspired 8-10 pages of Saker’s piece on “facts and opinions.” I will just try to see what new key points or arguments that rebuttal or apology for the Minsk dead offers.

    2.      Saker: the Minsk Protocol sabotaged by Russian diplomacy meant to “to create enough friction inside NATO and the EU to prevent what was supposed to be a "historical summit" come up with anything useful.”

    3.      Did the Protocol do that? Did the might alliance ‘s ability to “come up with anything useful” because of how supposedly Russian diplomacy worded the Protocol? Simple answer with no evidence to the contrary is No.

    4.      But Saker thinks otherwise:”As far as that goal is concerned, I would say that it has been fully achieved. All that this so-called "historical summit" produced was hot air.” Do we know that? And all that because of the “sabotaged” Minsk Protocol? 

    5.      Saker: the Minsk Protocol is “something useless and impossible to implement.” Why did Putin and Poroshenko in their telephone conversations agreed on the need of implementing the supposedly “impossible to implement”? Lavrov, moreover, clearly said: “Russia is AGAINST ALL that may hinder the implementation of the Minsk accords.  … We hope the ceasefire regime will be consolidated in the coming days.” Do then both Putin and Lavrov insist on implementing the impossible and the useless? One can also try to explain away the signature of the Russian Ambassador on the Minsk Protocol and the text of the Protocol as sabotage or trick, but international obligations do matter and to declare one’s text and signature as a trick or sabotage just few days after one forces the leadership of Novorossiya to commit themselves to it does not help. To say the least. It does help even the argument.

    6.      Saker: “The plan was designed to prevent changes on the ground. That worked.” Empirically, this is wrong. Just review the situation on the ground and its changes as they transpired since Friday 5. I recommend and reviews of the battle maps for those days by Vadim Petrov at

    7.      Saker: “The plan was designed to rapidly collapse on its own. That worked.” No evidence of this. There is no evidence of the “rapid collapse” of the Protocol—not so much with respect to ceasefire--fighting has deescalated, but not ceased, but mainly with respect to the actually politically most serious demands of the Protocol such as keeping Novorossiya merely at a level of some regions inside Nazi and oligarchic Ukraine, etc. On these political demands prejudicial to Novorossiya see, for example, Mikhail Belyayev, “The Twelve Clauses of Betrayal,” at One of these provisions stipulates that the Kiev regime will be making a “Law on the special status” of the regions within Ukraine currently under the people’s republics.

    8.      Saker: “What does the JRF have inside Mariupol?  The same source provides the following figures: 3200 soldiers, 50 tanks, 150 armored vehicles, 120 mortars, 140 artillery guns, 70 MLRS.”

    What is missing here is the fact that, before the ceasefire and the Minsk Protocol, the junta had only about one third of this manpower with hardly any heavy weapons. The beefing up of this force took place after the ceasefire.  

    9.      Saker: “Agreement are worse than one would have happened if the NAF had pushed further or attempted to take Mariupol, which I think they were about to do, and successfully so, but at the cost of creating a cauldron for themselves in fact cutting off the best and most capable part of the NAF from the rest of the NAF forces in Novorussia at a time when the Ukies were threatening from at least three directions (Schastie, Debaltsevo, Volnovakha).” Fact: before the ceasefire, it was the Ukrainian army that had a portion of its troop encircled in the so-called Elenovka pot, which, thanks to the ceasefire, was transformed from a cauldron to a salient now threatening the army of Novorossiya with having its Mariupol group cut off and encircled. At that point, Novorossiya even controlled the highway going through Volnovakha and the town too. Not anymore.

    10.  Saker: “Now let me ask you this: let's suppose just for a second that I am correct and that the NAF forces in and around Mariupol would be "cauldroned-off" by a JRF counter-offensive along the Mariupol-Novoazovsk highway or an attack from Telmanovo towards Novoazovsk.” Fact: Right upon concluding the ceasefire, the Ukrainian troops went and occupied Telmanovo. A portion of their convoy had to be destroyed to push them out again. But Telmanovo and the highway there too are now vulnerable.

    11.  Saker: “Mariupol is not fully surrounded anyway and the Ukies are reinforcing their garrison there through corridors on the northeast of the city.” Fact: this is the situation now, after the ceasefire. Before the Minsk ceasefire was introduced, the army of Novorosiya did take Mariupol into a ring from the east, the north, and the west.  Once the ceasefire came into force, the army of Novorossiya lost or ceded the territory west and north of Mariupol, thus, without fight, creating for itself a precarious new situation.

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