By Christopher Black, New Eastern Outlook, Aug. 21, 2015, (original title: ‘Minsk–2: A rotting corpse’)
The Minsk-2 ceasefire agreement is dead but no one wants to bury the rotting corpse. Since it was signed in February of this year, the Donbas governments and Russia have bent over backward to comply with the terms of that agreement hoping against hope that the Kiev junta would do the same. They hoped in vain.
Poroshenko and his fascist allies, instead, have refused to change the constitution to accommodate the concerns of the Donbas republics, have tried to suppress the Communist Party and other parties in opposition, have refused to withdraw heavy weaponry from the line of contact, have maintained increasingly heavy artillery attacks on the civilian populations and areas and cut off routes for essential foodstuffs, medical aid and technical equipment. Rather than enjoying a ceasefire, the peoples of the Donbas are under a state of siege.
Poroshenko openly calls for a military solution to the crisis and has increased the draft in the west of Ukraine. The NATO alliance continues to pour in its forces disguised as “advisers” and “mercenaries” and puts additional pressure on Russia with multiple military exercises from the Baltic to Bulgaria, where more tanks have been recently dispatched to “send Russia a message”.
The reality of the situation was stated on the 18th of August when President Putin stated, “It was the Donbas militias that suggested withdrawing all military equipment with calibre under 100mm. Unfortunately, the opposite side didn’t do that. On the contrary, according to the available data, it is concentrating its units there, including those reinforced with military hardware.” He continued to pay lip service to the Minsk-2 agreement, stating, “As for the Minsk-2 agreement, I believe there is no alternative for resolving the situation and that peace will prevail in the long run…” He continued with “Our task is to minimize the losses with which we will come to this peace.”
There can be no doubt that the Minsk-2 agreements do provide the framework for a peaceful settlement of the impasse, but there is also no doubt that the Kiev and NATO forces have no intention of abiding by its terms and are preparing for another offensive. Putin also stated, “I hope that it will not come to direct large scale clashes.” Yet, the people of the Donbas would be surprised to be told that the thousands of shells raining down on them from the Kiev junta’s artillery in order to provoke those clashes do not count.
What is the purpose of this state of siege? Since the Donbas forces have proven their strength and resilience, the Kiev regime has little hope of achieving the total destruction of those forces and imposing its will on the Donbas. Kiev and NATO also know that Russia does not want to be drawn into a direct clash with NATO that could lead to a general war. In consequence, the Kiev-NATO axis have decided to engage in operations that have direct political repercussions designed to disrupt the Russian-Donbas alliance or to paralyze it and try to enlist new allies. At the same time, they have decided to make the war more costly for the Donbas and Russia in both military and economic terms, and to try to bring about a gradual exhaustion of their physical and moral resistance.
We see this strategy being played out with the constant increase of economic warfare against Russia, which is clearly the ultimate target, the increasing use of propaganda including the planting in the media of the most absurd stories about Russia and its government, the use, once again, of OSCE observers as intelligence agents for NATO, as happened in the Yugoslav war, and, in the political sphere, attempts by the United States and Britain to humiliate Russia with the politically motivated attempt to set up a tribunal regarding the downing of flight MH17.
Clausewitz said that “war is a pulsation of violence, variable in strength and therefore, variable in the speed with which it explodes and discharges it energy’ and that “If we keep in mind that war springs from some political purpose, it is natural that the prime cause of its existence will remain the supreme consideration in conducting it.”
Indeed, we see in Ukraine the expression of the Anglo-American-German political purpose: the desire to force Russia to submit to their will. They failed in World War I. The attempt failed again in World War II. The so–called Cold War succeeded in bankrupting the socialist state but the capitalist state that rose from that sad decline is gathering its strength once again and refuses to submit to anyone’s diktats. And so the NATO coup in Kiev, in order to take Ukraine away from Russian influence as the Nazis tried to do in World War II.
But the Kiev-NATO cabal cannot break the will of the peoples of the Donbas nor of Russia, and so the constant attacks, the constant propaganda, the constant turning of the economic screws.
These actions are all illegal under international law and the laws of war. They are violations of the principles and articles of the UN Charter. They are violations of several Geneva Conventions and other international treaties. The attacks on civilians are war crimes. The use of prohibited weaponry, in these attacks, is a war crime. The collective punishment of entire populations is a war crime. The use of economic warfare is a war crime. Yet nothing is done by any western government to stop it nor does the International Criminal Court lay any charges where it can. Instead it stands by and condones these crimes by its inaction.
Article 7 of the Rome Statue that created the ICC states, “that crimes against humanity includes persecution of an identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic…grounds.”
Article 7-2(b) states that the crime of extermination includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia, the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population.
Article 8 defining war crimes, states that it includes wilful killing, wilfully causing great suffering, extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity, and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population not taking part in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, attacking or bombarding by whatever means towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives, declaring that no quarter will be given, using weapons designed to inflict unnecessary suffering or are indiscriminate, and intentionally using starvation as a method of warfare. The list goes on and is a compendium of the crimes being committed by the Kiev-NATO axis powers in Ukraine.
On April 17, 2014 the Kiev regime sent a declaration under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute accepting jurisdiction of the ICC over alleged crimes committed on its territory from November 21 2013 to 22 February 2014. This was clearly a propaganda gesture at the time to justify the coup that overthrew the legitimate government. The Prosecutor has not reacted publicly to this declaration nor to its meaning but the argument can be made that if the Kiev regime speaking for Ukraine has accepted the ICCs jurisdiction for crimes in one time frame it should also accept it for the crimes committed since then. One could argue that the situation is so grave that the ICC must take action against any persons committing crimes in a territory over which it has jurisdiction that being Ukraine. Even if that argument were rejected on technical grounds, one would think that the Prosecutor would at least make a statement that the operations of the Kiev-NATO axis constitute war crimes under the Rome Statue and that they should stop those operations at once. But the Prosecutor stays silent, as silent as she was when she served US interests at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal and did not protest the on -sided indictments handed out there. As the saying goes, “Once in the American pocket, always in their pocket.”
On August 18th, the Russian Foreign Ministry called for all sides to adhere to the Minsk agreements and expressed concern that the “bellicose rhetoric coming from Ukraine which is encouraged by a number of its foreign patrons, causes major concern and clearly attests to the intention to prepare the public opinion for another attempt to resolve the Ukrainian crisis by force. Under the circumstances, all responsibility for the negative consequences of such provocative actions will be borne by the current Ukrainian authorities.” Ominous words.
When the Minsk Agreements were signed in February, I wrote an article doubting that the Kiev-NATO side had any intention of using it except as a means of pausing their operations in order to reorganise and prepare for the next offensive. My doubts proved justified.
The only way forward is to resolve the conflict at the political level on the basis of the recognition of the right to self-rule and autonomy for the Donbas republics, the creation of a federal state to assure ethnic stability, and the commitment by Ukraine that it will be a neutral state and not part of any plan to “contain” Russia, a plan that can only lead to world war.
But the NATO puppets in charge of Ukraine do not act in the interests of Ukraine. They act in the interests of the masters of war who have no concern for humanity in general or Ukrainians in particular. If they continue their operations they will not succeed in uniting Ukraine but only in laying it waste.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine ‘New Eastern Outlook’.