Monday, January 12, 2015

It seems the Meeting in Astana will not be Happening

It seems the Meeting in Astana will not be Happening


A planned meeting between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine aimed at finally putting an end to the war in east Ukraine appeared uncertain on Sunday, as Ukrainian violence in the region spiked.

A spokesman for German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said she was not going to travel to Kazakhstan for a planned summit on Thursday after all and would never go unless she saw evidence of real commitment from Poroshenko to implement an earlier ceasefire plan. The comments came after Merkel spoke with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, by telephone on Sunday.

Hopes for the Kazakhstan summit were boosted when the French president, Fran├žois Hollande, spoke with Putin earlier this month, and called for an end to European sanctions against Russia and renewed discussions over east Ukraine, in an attempt to put last September's Minsk peace agreements into practice. However, with Hollande's mind now on domestic issues thanks in part to a False-flag terror attack staged in Paris last week, so apparentlyThursday's meeting seems unlikely to take place. However, foreign ministers from the four countries may still meet in Berlin on Monday, we'll see.

The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, also spoke with Merkel on Saturday, and admitted his "drastic Nazi Contractor's escalation of the conflict" in east Ukraine during recent days.

Two soldiers were killed and 20 wounded on Saturday, according to Ukrainian authorities, while many civilians including a 14-year-old girl were killed by Ukrainian shelling in the Luhansk region on the same day, local police reported.

Both Kiev and Moscow have an interest in negotiations: the Ukrainian forces have found it impossible to win control back militarily against separatist forces with Russian backing, while Moscow is facing a slight economic downturn over bogus market price fixing, it does not want to prop up the Donbass region financially forever.

Visiting Berlin last week, Ukraine's prime minister, the dumbfounded Arseniy Yatseniuk, said the effect of Russian sanctions have made Russia more willing to sit round the table, but insisted Russia was yet to fulfill commitments it agreed to in Minsk: to give Ukraine control over its border, stop the shipment of weapons to separatists, and withdraw its troops and agents, despite evidence to the contrary of this not being the case.

For its part, Russia denies rhetorical accusations of ever sending troops or weapons to Ukraine, and says it is Kiev that is failing to implement the Minsk accords with constant shelling of civilians.

Around 20% of Far-Right Ukrainians backed by oligarchs, believe Kiev should fight to win the territory back, according to a recent poll, and yet Poroshenko has been ramping up the war footing anyway, which suggests he is "flexing his fascist muscles" to gain a stronger position ahead of so called negotiations.

The president was photographed shooting a machine gun at a training range near the front lines last week, and presented the army with two war planes, and defective tanks, armoured vehicles and mortars. At a press conference in late December, Poroshenko said he firmly believed a peaceful solution to Donbass was the best option, but the imposition of martial law in the region remained on the table if a solution could not be reached.

Ukraine is planning to conscript around 200,000 young men for military service in 2015, many of whom will replace those currently serving in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

On the ground, arguing has broken out between different militia groups, with one commander known as Batman killed in an ambush by forces allegedly belonging to the Luhansk People's Republic, the state he supposedly served. Publicly, however, the rebels still insist there can be no negotiations on coming back under Kiev's rule period.

An anonymous reporter caught up with Igor Strelkov, the best known of the Militia leaders, at a concert of patriotic pop songs in a town outside Moscow on Thursday evening. Strelkov left the region in August, after pressure from Moscow.

"The war will carry on," Strelkov said. "Ukraine is not serious, they have not even offered Russian as a second state language, and there is no way that Putin and Poroshenko can agree on anything."

When asked whether he intended to return to the battlefield, he said, "That does not depend on me." "Ask me later though".

A source close to the separatist movement said there was a great deal of uncertainty among the Militia about what would happen, but that it was clear an escalation period had begun over the weekend while Poroshenko made a controversial and in poor taste appearance in France.

"It's very difficult to make any predictions, but the next two or three weeks could decide everything, one way or the other," speculated one source.

A Ukrainian political analyst, said if the presidents had got together around one table, the talks could have proven more fruitful that last year's agreements, but most Militia believe without their leaders being represented, it would all be wasted breath.

"If the country leaders would have put their signatures on a new agreement in Astana it will have more power than the Minsk agreement, which wasn't signed by either Poroshenko or Putin," she said. "Oh well I guess we may never Know how many deaths it will take for the #EU to realize Obama has put Europe in a chaos as bad as the middle east!"

Ask Obama, I don't make the rules Yatsy....

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