Just over ten days ago, as the pro-independence forces in east Ukraine were on the march with significant gains on the battlefield, a ceasefire was signed in Minsk, Belarus. According to the terms of the ceasefire, the pro-independence fighters were to lay down their arms, cease their offensive to regain lost territory in the Donetsk and Lugansk region, and disband.
In exchange for this, the US-backed government in Kiev was to agree to an amnesty for pro-independence fighters, commit to economic development in the east, and agree to enshrine decentralization in law to provide autonomy to the east.
Most importantly, the ceasefire was to stop the Kiev government's shelling of major population centers in the east and stop the slaughter of military forces on both sides.
It turns out to be a grotesque sleight of hand, with Kiev receiving guarantees at the September 5, NATO summit in Wales that NATO members would provide the military equipment to finish the pro-independence forces in the east after the ceasefire gave time to re-group a badly beaten, largely conscript Ukrainian army.
This grand deception came to light yesterday, as Valery Heletey, defense minister of the US-backed regime in Kiev, bragged that, as Reuters put it:
NATO countries were delivering weapons to his country to equip it to fight pro-Russian separatists and "stop" Russian President Vladimir Putin.We are already seeing the result of this bait and switch, as yesterday saw a dramatic resumption of the US-backed government's shelling civilian Donetsk, which is under control of the pro-independence movement.
The ceasefire provided pro-US Kiev forces time to regroup and absorb NATO weapons under the guise of stopping the violence, with the intent of slaughtering rather than negotiating with the pro-independence forces. This is no great surprise, as the February coup itself proceeded with US cooperation just as a compromise power-sharing agreement between the elected president, Yanukovich, and the Maidan rebels was signed.
It remains a great mystery why the pro-independence forces would strike a deal with a Kiev regime which came to power as a result of a US and EU sponsored coup in February, and whose veracity and track record of fair play is rather wanting.
A greater mystery perhaps, is why a Russia that was accused of "invading" Ukraine as the NATO summit kicked off, would agree to the decapitation of a Moscow-friendly independence movement next-door as it consolidated its gains.
Whatever the case, the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine is about to resume. The pro-US regime in Kiev, by deception, is about to claim bloody victory from the jaws of defeat.