Echoing Merkel, Fmr French Prez Confirms West Lied to Russia on Minsk Deal to Buy Kiev Time to Rearm
19:12 GMT 30.12.2022 (Updated: 19:18 GMT 30.12.2022)
The revelation comes a few weeks after Germany's former chancellor admitted that the peace agreement struck in the Belarusian capital in February 2015 was a contrivance used to buy time to build up Ukraine’s military after it had been shattered in fierce fighting with Donbass militias.
The Minsk Peace Accords were never about bringing peace to Donbass, former French President Francois Hollande has admitted.
“Since 2014, Ukraine has strengthened its military posture. Indeed, the Ukrainian army [of 2022] was completely different from that of 2014. It was better trained and equipped. It is the merit of the Minsk Agreements to have given the Ukrainian Army this opportunity,” Hollande said in an interview with Ukrainian media this week.
The former French president, who left office in 2017 with an approval rating hovering in the single-digits, had the courtesy to admit that while the Minsk agreement was functioning, Russia was meeting its obligations as a guarantor.
“Every month, [former Ukrainian President] Petro Poroshenko, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin and I had long telephone conversations in which we exchanged information on the progress of the Minsk protocols. Even if we saw that there was an obvious unwillingness, there was still a dialogue” via the Normandy Format, Hollande said.
Another of the Minsk peace deal’s “merits” was that it “didn’t allow the area controlled by separatists to expand,” Hollande added.
Confession is Good for the Soul
Hollande’s comments are the third confirmation in two months by a senior official involved in the Minsk negotiations that the West and its Ukrainian client state were never serious about implementing the peace agreement.
On December 7, Angela Merkel said that Minsk “was an attempt to buy time for Ukraine,” and that “Ukraine used this time to become stronger, as you can see today. The Ukraine of 2014-2015 is not the Ukraine of today,” she said.
A month earlier, Petro Poroshenko told Russian pranksters Vovan and Lexus that he “needed the Minsk Accords to get at least four years to form the Ukrainian Armed Forces, build up the Ukrainian economy and train the Ukrainian military together with NATO to create the best armed forces in Eastern Europe, created according to NATO standards.”
17 November 2022, 17:59 GMT
Signed on February 12, 2015 by Ukraine and guarantors Russia, Germany and France, the Minsk Peace Agreements were a thirteen-part ceasefire and peace deal
which would have allowed Kiev to restore control over the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in exchange for broad, constitutionally-mandated autonomy. Over the seven years after the treaty was signed, Kiev stalled on implementing the agreement, and continued low-intensity shelling and sabotage attacks against the Donbass. An attempt by President Volodymyr Zelensky to implement the treaty in late 2019 sparked widespread protests in Kiev led by Poroshenko, hardline pro-EU parties, and ultranationalist fighters and Donbass war veterans, prompting Zelensky to back down.
In February 2022, observing a severe escalation of tensions along the line of contact in the Donbass, and suspected Ukrainian sabotage attacks targeting senior military officials in Donetsk and Lugansk, Russia recognized the pair of self-proclaimed republics as sovereign nations, and, on February 24, kicked off a special military operation to ‘demilitarize’ and ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine amid fears that Kiev was preparing an imminent all-out assault on the Donbass. In September, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and the Russian-administered areas of Kherson and Zaporozhye became part of Russia after status referendums.
Commenting on Merkel’s admission about Minsk this month, President Putin expressed shock and disappointment.
“Frankly speaking, I did not expect to hear such a thing from the former federal chancellor. Because I always proceeded from the idea that the German leadership behaves sincerely with us. Yes, they were on Ukraine’s side, supported Kiev, but it always seemed to me that Germany always sincerely sought a peaceful settlement based on the principles that we had agreed on, which were achieved, including within the framework of the Minsk process,” Putin said.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who hosted the Minsk negotiations in the Belarusian capital back in 2015, did not mince words about Merkel’s comments, saying
the situation was “not just disgusting” but “abominable,” and that Merkel “acted in a petty, obnoxious way” trying to bring attention to herself.
10 October 2022, 08:58 GMT