MOSCOW, 21 Nov 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.
Two positions in the Russian news feed of recent days reveal the inevitably unfolding trend in Ukraine. Firstly, it is a catchy headline spread by most major news agencies and publications: “The General Staff of the Ministry of Defence voiced the deadline for neutralising the Armed Forces in the event of war.”
A kind of pill in the form of a screaming and frightening truth for the post-Maidan Kiev authorities. Especially for the holder of the sovereign mace, who is far from reality, who is in captivity of illusions, ignorance and banal ignorance in interstate relations. Who, in addition to everything else, is living in a virtual world inspired by a whole host of incompetent advisers, each of whom pursues their own goals and are often being pulled by strings stretching far beyond Ukraine.
In the Russian information field, for external as well as for internal consumption, the vector was outlined aloud that “if Ukraine attacks Crimea or other territories of Russia, the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation will carry out the complete neutralisation of all warships and coastal military infrastructure of the enemy in a period of 50 minutes to 10 hours.”
By its continuation, this vector also gives similar states of affairs for all the Ukrainian Armed Forces, that is, based on their scale – from a couple of dozen hours to several days. And the fact that “it was outlined loudly” and also thrown into the mix – and even “from a source in the General Staff” – is far from being accidental.
This is a good reason for the current post-Maidan Kiev to think a hundred times whether it is worth persisting in the actual sabotage of the Minsk Agreements. Of course, according to the internal logic of the newly formed formation of “Not Russia” (Ukraine – ed.) – this is impossible, “Not Russia” cannot do this in principle.
But that’s the point, that’s the Russian logic, embedded deep inside in the Russian geopolitical code. We openly warn Kiev, making it clear the states of affairs in the case of “I’m coming after you”, and in the very fact of such an information move there are already obvious flashes of this “I’m coming after you”.
The external consumer of such a voice-over of our real capabilities is not only in Kiev, it was intended not only for them. This is an unambiguous warning to Berlin and Paris in a series of diplomatic double-edged remarks and attacks played out between them and Moscow, a kind of fat dot there.
After all, the second chord of the Russian cantata in the Ukrainian agenda of yesterday’s information background was the move used in diplomacy only in exceptional cases – the publication of diplomatic correspondence. The whole meaning of the disclosure of documents can be conveyed by the phrase “we wash our hands of it.”
There is a general impression that such a move with the publication of closed diplomatic correspondence was far from spontaneous, but was planned initially. This is evidenced by the construction and content of the documents themselves, where everything is voiced as much as possible for the logic of external perception and the confidential topic of telephone communication between the President of Russia and the leaders of Germany and France is specially disclosed.
Moreover, the final phrase of all these messages points to the international addressee, appeals to the international community, giving a full assessment in the context of international relations and international law.
The harsh expressions in which the correspondence is going on, even within the framework of diplomatic canons, clearly makes it known that the cup of our patience is not infinite. The Russian Foreign Minister is not just burning, but burning with a hot iron: “I will not hide it: your answer is disappointing. The phrase that there are provisions in our proposals that ‘certainly will not be accepted’ in the ‘Normandy format’, in particular, ‘the organisation of direct dialogue between Kiev and Donetsk and Lugansk’, is reflective of this in itself.
.. Therefore, your statement about the rejection of direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk, and Lugansk discredits the co-authorship of the leaders of Germany and France on the document of February 12, 2015.”
Further, the Minister debunks all the four agenda items proposed by Berlin and Paris, which are generally far from international legal reality, pointing out to the partners the binding provision of the Minsk Document adopted by the UN Security Council.
One of Lavrov’s main messages is that “we are invited to approve the holding of the Normandy Summit in the near future so that the leaders will exchange views on the issues that have already been agreed by them on February 12, 2015.
It seems that we are again talking about an attempt to create conditions for a radical revision of the Package of Measures in favour of Kiev, which officially and publicly refuses to implement it…
The only thing that is required is for Berlin and Paris to force their wards in Kiev to fulfil what our leaders signed on December 9, 2019.”
And immediately turning into a diplomatic offensive, Russia sets its agenda, shifts the focus to what these countries are losing by following Kiev’s lead:
“By the way, speaking about the decisions taken on February 12, 2015 in Minsk, we somehow leave aside the Declaration of the leaders of the four countries approved at the same time, which, in addition to supporting the Minsk Agreements (including their signing by representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk), contains a number of broader political commitments.
Among them are ‘strengthening cooperation between the EU, Ukraine and Russia’, support for negotiations ‘in order to develop practical solutions to issues of concern to Russia in connection with the Agreement on a Free Trade area between Ukraine and the EU’, as well as commitment to ‘the idea of creating a common humanitarian and economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean’.
It would be important at some stage to submit these major tasks to the heads of state and government of our countries for consideration in the interests of solving systemic problems that burden our relations.”
In summary, the head of our diplomacy notes: ‘You conclude your message addressed to me on November 4 of this year by stating your agreement that the parties to the conflict should fully implement the Minsk Agreements. Taking into account your interpretation of the facts set out above of these agreements, such a statement looks surreal.”
Russian diplomacy, together with the Russian president (as follows from the published texts – who entrusted it with such a mission), does not just wash its hands against the background of the signal “I’m coming after you” from the General Staff. It also puts everything connected with the current situation on public display.
As Lavrov epochally stated in the last sentence of the last document from the Russian side: “I am sure that you will understand the need for such a non-standard step (publication of documents – ed.), since we are talking about the need to convey to the world community the truth about who fulfils the international legal obligations assumed at the highest level and how.” This is an unambiguous signal to everyone: these are the states of affairs that have developed, and we have done everything in them that depends on us, and even more. We wash our hands of it.
Those who are not on the way with us will also appreciate it for “internal consumption”, although they will give out slick slogans in their own ideological conjuncture.
Yes, there is a possibility that at this stage such signals, which, no doubt, are read by partners as “we wash our hands” and “I’m coming after you” – are not final yet, but only raising the degree of tension and stakes in the game.
But all the inevitable logic of the process tells us that ahead, sooner or later, based on the stated informational reasons, military and diplomatic, very serious progress and shifts are waiting for us in the Ukrainian issue. And, apparently, according to the plans of the General Staff.