Russian has a rather complicated adjective недоговороспособны (nedogovorosposobny) for which there isn’t any good English equivalent. Literally it means something like “not together in speaking to find a way”; the clumsy English word used is not-agreement-capable. The meaning is “you can’t make an agreement with them and, even if you could, they’d break it”.
The Minsk agreements were negotiated between Kiev and the breakaway regions of Lugansk and Donetsk with two variants in 2014 and 2015. In essence they agreed to a ceasefire and the start of negotiations on some form of autonomy for Lugansk and Donetsk inside the borders of Ukraine. The second version had big involvement by France (President Hollande) and Germany (Chancellor Angela Merkel) – they were its guarantors. Russia’s role was to force Lugansk and Donetsk to the table (they would have preferred independence or joining Russia.) The agreements never took effect.
Kiev never pretended to try and then-President Poroshenko has recently admitted that Kiev only saw it as a mechanism to buy time and Donetsk and Lugansk could “hole up in basements“. Western consumers/dupes of their media would only have heard of it in the context of “In Ukraine, we have maintained an effort under Ambassador Kurt Volker to provide the means by which Russia can live up to its commitments under the Minsk Agreements.” More lies – Russia had no commitments in the agreement, the obligations were entirely on the part of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. Russia delivered the latter two to the signing table and France and Germany were supposed to deliver the first. Had the agreements been lived up to – had France and Germany pressured Ukraine – Kievans would be cooking their meals in lighted rooms after a hot shower and sleeping in their own beds. Thousands of people would be alive and healthy today.
Putin recently told a group of soldiers’ mothers “In hindsight, we are all smart, of course, but we believed that we would manage to come to terms, and Lugansk and Donetsk would be able to reunify with Ukraine somehow under the agreements – the Minsk agreements… We were sincerely moving towards this.”
What did we just learn the other day from former German Chancellor Angela Merkel?
And the 2014 Minsk agreement was an attempt to give Ukraine time. She also used this time to get stronger, as you can see today. The Ukraine of 2014/15 is not the Ukraine of today. As you saw in the battle for Debaltseve (railway town in Donbass, Donetsk Oblast, ed.) in early 2015, Putin could easily have overrun them at the time. And I very much doubt that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they do now to help Ukraine.
[Sie hat diese Zeit hat auch genutzt, um stärker zu werden, wie man heute sieht. Die Ukraine von 2014/15 ist nicht die Ukraine von heute. Wie man am Kampf um Debalzewe (Eisenbahnerstadt im Donbass, Oblast Donezk, d. Red.) Anfang 2015 gesehen hat, hätte Putin sie damals leicht überrennen können. Und ich bezweifle sehr, dass die Nato-Staaten damals so viel hätten tun können wie heute, um der Ukraine zu helfen.]
Compare that with what she said at the time – “We are here to implement the Minsk deal, not to call it into question“.
So, Poroshenko was right – it was just a delaying tactic, NATO and Kiev never had any intention of negotiating an arrangement in which Lugansk and Donetsk, inside Ukraine, would enjoy a degree of autonomy and Germany, at least, never intended to push Kiev.
Putin was lied to and fooled.
I have three questions.
- Why would anybody in Russia ever bother negotiating with these people ever again about anything?
- Why would anybody in the rest of the world – China, India, Iran, the Middle East, Africa, South America – ever bother negotiating with these people ever again about anything?
- What possessed her to admit this now? An upwelling of conscience? Arrogance – we’re Number One and always will be and we don’t give a damn what you think? You’d think after the catastrophe that that is hitting Ukraine and Europe because she (and others) ignored diplomacy and negotiation that she’d keep her mouth shut. (Korybko speculates on her motives.)
Недоговороспособны – even when you think you’ve made an agreement, they’re just trying to fool you.