Russia shows no signs of even pretending to implement the key elements of Minsk 2. And why should they? As the Ukrainian journalist Vitaly Portnikov points out in this article, Putin knows that the people of the occupied Donbas grow more and more hostile towards the Russian occupants, and without their presence, the two artificial political constructions DPR and LPR will vanish in merely a few days. So Putin will keep his assassins in place for as long as he can.

The key factor in the Minsk agreement – and in Russia’s war in Ukraine – is to regain the control of the entire border. The West has not shown enough strength in this matter. What should be done is to let Russia understand that if they continue the aggression in Ukraine, the West must introduce military sanctions: that means giving Ukraine all the military resources they need to regain the control of its borders – weapons, military advisers and even air support. As soon as the border is under Ukrainian control, a wall must be built to last until a new regime is in place in Russia. Afterwards there can be free elections or a referendum, under strict international control, so that the population of Donbas can decide whether they want to be a part of Russia or not.

Unfortunately, the West does not possess such strength.

The best outcome would be if Putin was removed, and replaced with a figure who understands that if Russia continues on its aggressive path, the country will go bankrupt and the entire federation will dissolve into a large number of “ogurets republics”.

 

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