Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
So let me see : In your opinion, Putin's invasion of last year was not a continuation of his 2014 policy of annexing the parts of Ukraine that he imagined were Russian? So what motivated it?

If the aim was to integrate the Donbas into Russia the time to do so was in 2014 when the Ukrainian army was in no position to fight and not ideologically hardened.

Indeed. Retrospecively, they could have accomplished the goals of the 2022 intervention much more easily in 2014. 2017 would have been a good time to do it too, because it's hard to see the Trump administration enthusiastically arming Poroshenko's army... am I wrong?

But I think we agree that Putin is a piss-poor strategist. In 2014, he was probably wary of provoking a strong US reaction if he attempted what he tried last year. So, the only unanswered question is why he thought it was a good idea in 2022.

The people of Donbas found themselves in a similar unhappy situation as the KPP in Syria. They had to accept Russia's/the US' help and effectively become proxies since there was nowhere else to turn.

Do you have documentation on this? I haven't seen any reporting of dissent by autonomists in the Donbas with respect to the annexation by Russia, but I haven't been paying attention.  As far as I knew, it was their refusal to be ruled by Ukrainians, tied to their Russianness, that triggered their revolt. So the Syrian analogy is a bit weak, I think.

To come back to the subject of this diary : I hardly think Merkel's explanations about Minsk are explosive. It should have been obvious to any observer that the western guarantors of the Minsk accords had no illusions about the accords being fully implemented; the military situation was highly favourable to the secessionists and their Russian backers, and the main thing was to stop the fighting. The separatists visibly had no intention of implementing the accords anyway, as evidenced by the fact that they organised their own elections in November 2018 in contradiction of the accord; likewise, the Ukrainian parliament was not enthusiastic about federalist constitutional changes. If Putin was really not interested in annexing further chunks of Ukraine at that time, he could certainly have pressured his protégés into keeping their side of the bargain; but he didn't.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Mon Jan 2nd, 2023 at 03:56:41 PM EST
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