For a comprehensive overview of the current military situation in the Eastern Ukraine, see
MICHAEL WEISS, JAMES MILLER, “LANDBRIDGE TO CRIMEA: PUTIN IS WINNING THE UKRAINE WAR ON THREE FRONTS,” The Daily Beast, January 26, 2015.
Putin’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, signed an agreement in Berlin with the Ukraine on January 21, 2015, to withdraw heavy armor from the demarcation line agreed in the Minsk Memorandum.
At the same time, Russian troops and armor were moving into the eastern Ukraine and launching a new offensive by the so-called “separatists”, including attacks on Mariupol, the gateway city for the conquest of a land-bridge linking Russia and rebel territory in the Donbas to the Crimea.
Russia’s perfidy at Berlin recalled its perfidy at Geneva on April 17, 2014, when it agreed to halt the takeover of government buildings in the eastern Ukraine, as they intensified.
Both agreements were no more than propaganda ploys. Russia under Putin can never again be trusted. Negotiated agreements are meaningless.
Putin agreed to the Minsk Protocol on September 5, 2014 in an effort to weaken or forestall the EU “stage 3” sanctions agreed also on September 5, and finally put into force on September 12, 2014.
Putin has repeatedly and brazenly violated the Minsk Protocol, which is at the moment all but a dead-letter.
It could be useful if it were included in a new U.N. Security draft resolution which would be put to a vote.
Putin’s military aggresion must be stopped now, and rolled back.
Weapons and training for the Ukraine can help stop further advances by Russian troops and their “separatist” puppets, together with new and much harsher sectoral economic sanctions.
Over time, as these sanctions are intensified — if they are — they can also bring Russia to negotiating a way out of its current occupation of the Crimea, conquered by force in violation of Article 2 paragraph 4 of the United Nations Charter.
Whether the pacifists and appeasers who lead the United States and Europe can put aside their illusions and deal effectively to halt the greatest military threat to Europe since 1945 is, at best, an open question.
Whether Barack Obama, who has checked out from leading the foreign policy of the U.S., can find his way back to the office and engage on foreign policy, is also an open question.
The future of NATO, and perhaps eastern Europe, hangs in the balance.
The Trenchant Observer