A Brilliant Move for Ukraine to Defang Russia, Avert War
If Minsk II are chains they are easy to cast off
With 90-100 Russian battalion tactical groups now present within 200 kilometers of somewhere next to Ukraine it’s anybody’s guess if they get ordered into action or not. But it strikes me that there is a fool-proof way for Ukraine to ensure that they do not.
Furthermore, this Ukrainian judo move would thwart the most ambitious of Putin’s advisers, while liberating Ukraine of something it doesn’t even want.
What is this move?
The move is for Kiev to promptly declare that it now recognizes the outcome of the May 2014 Donetsk and Lugansk independence referendums and recognizes them as sovereign states on the territory presently in their hands.
Kiev did not implement Minsk I and Minsk II agreements it signed, complaining they are Moscow’s poisoned chalices. Well, if Ukraine no longer seeks to reintegrate Donetsk and Lugansk then it no longer needs to drink from the “poisoned chalice” and Russia can’t do anything about it.
At the same time, Ukraine doesn’t really want rebel Donbass. The official name of the military campaign to retake Donbass was literally “The Anti-Terrorist Operation” or “ATO”. After that campaign failed Ukraine immediately shifted to trying to economically strangle the “terrorist-occupied” region, imposing a blockade and cutting off Ukrainian pensioners of Donbass from their pensions.
As Poroshenko at the time explained this was to be accompanied by terror against civilians which would force them to live in basements, especially children:
“Our children will go to schools, theirs will hole up in the basements! This is how we are going to win this war!”
Ukraine regards most everyone in Donbass as a terrorist or a terrorist-supporter, including the children. The collective-punishment, war-on-civilians approach shows as much.
So why does Ukraine want Donbass? In truth, Ukraine doesn’t want it. At least it doesn’t want the people, and it only wants the ground out of inertia, sunk cost fallacy, and nationalism.
No more Minsk, no more war, no more having to reintegrate 4 million terrorists/traitors, and no more having to boost the pro-Russian opposition by 2 million votes. What’s not to like?
Most of all, with the Donbass conflict wrapped up it would become exceedingly difficult for Russia to come up with an excuse on which to base counter-escalation.
However, Ukraine should keep claiming Crimea as its own territory. This must be done for Russia’s peace of mind. As it will ensure that Ukraine continues to have an unresolved conflict and therefore can not ever be accepted into NATO.