Merkel reveals West’s duplicity

“War, it seems, was the only option Russia’s opponents had ever considered”

by Scott Ritter*

Recent comments by former German Chancellor Angela Merkel shed light on the duplicitous game played by Germany, France, Ukraine and the United States in the lead-up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February.1

While the so-called “collective west” (the US, NATO, the EU and the G7) continue to claim that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an act of “unprovoked aggression,” the reality is far different: Russia had been duped into believing there was a diplomatic solution to the violence that had broken out in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine in the aftermath of the 2014 US-backed Maidan coup in Kiev.
  Instead, Ukraine and its Western partners were simply buying time until NATO could build a Ukrainian military capable of capturing the Donbass in its entirety, as well as evicting Russia from Crimea.
  In an interview last week with Der Spiegel2, Merkel alluded to the 1938 Munich compromise. She compared the choices former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had to make regarding Nazi Germany with her decision to oppose Ukrainian membership in NATO, when the issue was raised at the 2008 NATO summit in Bucharest.
  By holding off on NATO membership, and later by pushing for the Minsk Accords, Merkel believed she was buying Ukraine time so that it could better resist a Russian attack, just as Chamberlain believed he was buying the UK and France time to gather their strength against Hitler’s Germany.
  The takeaway from this retrospection is astounding. Forget, for a moment, the fact that Merkel was comparing the threat posed by Hitler’s Nazi regime to that of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and focus instead in on the fact that Merkel knew that inviting Ukraine into NATO would trigger a Russian military response.
  Rather than reject this possibility altogether, Merkel instead pursued a policy designed to make Ukraine capable of withstanding such an attack.
  War, it seems, was the only option Russia’s opponents had ever considered.

Putin: Minsk was a mistake

Merkel’s comments parallel those made in June by former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to several western media outlets.3 “Our goal,” Poroshenko declared, “was to, first, stop the threat, or at least to delay the war – to secure eight years to restore economic growth and create powerful armed forces.” Poroshenko made it clear that Ukraine had not come to the negotiating table on the Minsk Accords in good faith.
  This is a realisation that Putin has come to as well. In a recent meeting with Russian wives and mothers of Russian troops fighting in Ukraine, including a few widows of fallen soldiers, Putin acknowledged that it was a mistake to agree to the Minsk accords, and that the Donbass problem should have been resolved by force of arms at that time, especially given the mandate he had been handed by the Russian Duma regarding authorisation to use Russian military forces in “Ukraine,” not just Crimea.4
  Putin’s belated realisation should send shivers down the spine of all those in the West who operate on the misconception that there can now somehow be a negotiated settlement to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
  None of Russia’s diplomatic interlocutors have demonstrated a modicum of integrity when it comes to demonstrating any genuine commitment to a peaceful resolution to the ethnic violence which emanated from the bloody events of the Maidan in February 2014, which overthrew an OSCE-certified, democratically-elected Ukrainian president.

Response to resistance

When Russian speakers in Donbass resisted the coup and defended that democratic election, they declared independence from Ukraine. The response from the Kiev coup regime was to launch an eight-year vicious military attack against them that killed thousands of civilians. Putin waited eight years to recognise their independence and then launched a full-scale invasion of Donbass in February.
  He had previously waited on the hope that the Minsk Accords, guaranteed by Germany and France and endorsed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council (including by the U.S.), would resolve the crisis by giving Donbass autonomy while remaining part of Ukraine.5 But Kiev never implemented the accords and were not sufficiently pressured to do so by the West.
  The detachment shown by the West, as every pillar of perceived legitimacy crumbled — from the OSCE observers (some of whom, according to Russia, were providing targeting intelligence about Russian separatist forces to the Ukrainian military)6; to the Normandy Format pairing of Germany and France, which was supposed to ensure that the Minsk Accords would be implemented; to the United States, whose self-proclaimed “defensive” military assistance to Ukraine from 2015 to 2022 was little more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing – all underscored the harsh reality that there never was going to be a peaceful settlement of the issues underpinning the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

And there never will be

War, it seems, was the solution sought by the “collective West,” and war is the solution sought by Russia today.
  Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.
  On reflection, Merkel was not wrong in citing Munich 1938 as an antecedent to the situation in Ukraine today. The only difference is this wasn’t a case of noble Germans seeking to hold off the brutal Russians, but rather duplicitous Germans (and other Westerners) seeking to deceive gullible Russians.
  This will not end well for either Germany, Ukraine, or any of those who shrouded themselves with the cloak of diplomacy, all the while hiding from view the sword they held behind their backs.  •

2 see above

Source: of 5 December 2022; reprinted with friendly permission of the author

Scott Ritteris a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer whose career spans more than 20 years and includes stints in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control agreements, on US General Norman Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and later as the UN’s chief weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991–1998.

Angela Merkel: “The Minsk Agreement of 2014 was an attempt to buy time for Ukraine”

“The 2014 Minsk Agreement was an attempt to buy time for Ukraine. Ukraine used this time to become stronger, as you can see today. Ukraine in 2014-2015 and Ukraine today are not the same. As you saw from the battle for Debaltseve [railroad town in Donbass, Donetsk oblast, ed.] in early 2015, Putin could have easily overrun it then. And I doubt very much that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they are doing now to help Ukraine.”

Interview with Angela Merkel in the “Zeit” of 7 December 2022

(Translation Current Concerns)

War Logic

“Fear that the war will end”

ds. “US weapons supplies running low,” headlined the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” on 30 November on page 3, reporting “shortages” in various weapons systems and the ammunition to go with them.
  When it comes to Ukraine, one reads further, US President Joe Biden is always firm. American determination to prevent Putin from succeeding is also reflected in numbers, he said: The US Congress had already approved $68 billion for Ukraine. Three quarters of this has already been used up or firmly budgeted. And recently, the White House had asked the parliament to make another 38 billion dollars available for Kiev.
  With this help, Ukraine had been able to turn the tide on the “battlefields” in the east and south. The delivery of howitzers and more than 800,000 artillery shells was one of the decisive factors for this success. Ukrainian forces were firing up to 7,000 artillery salvos a day, but now American stockpiles were dwindling.
  There would also be shortages of multiple rocket launchers. However, these would first have to be manufactured, and it would take months or even years before they arrived at the front.
  However, the arms manufacturers were reluctant to expand their production capacity too much. They lack long-term commitments for arms purchases from the government. “They are afraid that the war will end, the orders will stop coming in and they will be left sitting on their expanded factories.”

* * *

In Ukraine, two nuclear powers are facing each other, Russia and the USA. There can be no victory on the battlefield. At some point, the weapons will have to fall silent.
  In Russia and Ukraine, people are crying. They mourn for their lost children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents. Some have lost everything.
  More weapons prolong the war and create more suffering. A ceasefire is needed, and it is needed now!

Hungarian government’s stance in favor of a peaceful solution

The civil movement Forum for Peace welcomes the Hungarian government’s stance in favor of a peaceful solution to the conflict in Ukraine. We believe that it is correct that at the NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bucharest, Péter Szijjártó did not indicate what needs to be done in terms of additional military and financial support to be provided to Kiev, but in the strategic dialogue with Russia. We also agree that Hungary continues to veto Ukraine’s accession to NATO. It is true that he is not doing this with reference to the peace of our country and Europe, but to the still unremedied violation of the ethnic rights of the Transcarpathian Hungarians. The Peace Forum believes that the rights of our Hungarian compatriots can be asserted if the main obstacle, the chauvinist leadership in Kyiv, is removed from their path. As long as NATO supports Kyiv, our Hungarians cannot expect their lot to improve, but, on the contrary, our young people will be used as cannon fodder for the purposes of the ruling nation serving American interests. The Peace Forum believes that the key to the solution is the acceptance of Russia’s legitimate security guarantees of 15 December 2021. Moscow has made it clear that if the security of its borders is guaranteed, it will also guarantee the security of others in the framework of the European cooperation system based on the self-determination of peoples. As long as NATO, including Hungary, does not recognise the legitimate Russian demand, there will be no peace, and not only will the rights of the Hungarian minority be violated, but the peace of our country is not guaranteed.

Association for the Rule of Law,
Hungarian Anti-Fascist League, Labor Party, Hungarian Community for Peace,
István Balog Tibor Bognár, Zsolt Fehérvári, József Hajdú, Balázs Hetényi,
Tamás Hirschler, Ferenc Kleinheincz, Gyöngyi Krajcsovicz, József Zsolt Nagy,
László Petráss, István Salga, Endre Simó Gyula Thurmer

Source: Statement of the Hungarian Peace Forum,
Budapest 1
 December 2022

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