Changing the narrative on Donbass

After the conflict between the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk and the coup appointed regime in Kiev in 2014 a shaky peace deal was reached in September 2014. The so-called Minsk agreement was then renewed with Minsk 2 in February 2015. The Minsk agreements were made between Russia and Ukraine and signed by representatives of the breakaway regions. The process was mediated by the OSCE. The Normandy format group which comprises Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine have agreed that this (Minsk) represents the way forward to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. The Minsk agreements essentially envisage very substantial autotomy for the breakaway regions while remaining within Ukraine.

Since 2015 it has been clear that Kiev has close to zero intention of implementing the agreement. However until now this had not been said openly. UK media has referred to the Minsk agreements as the basis for the eventual settlement of the conflict.

Recently a new line has emerged. It seems that Kiev is now openly throwing off the agreements. Now we see lines like the following appearing in the Western media:

Men on both sides dug in. The peace-process soon hit a dead end as Ukraine resisted implementing a deal it had signed at gunpoint. Daily Telegraph [1]

On Monday, Ryabkov hinted at what Moscow’s aims may be, saying that the United States should apply greater effort to enforce the Minsk agreements, a 2015 roadmap out of the conflict that many in Kyiv believe is disadvantageous and was forced to sign during a Russian-backed offensive. Guardian [2]

It seems that the position has changed. Kiev has been demanding that the Minsk contact group talks be moved from Minsk. This marks a change in their official attitude to Minsk. In parallel the Western (UK) media is shamelessly promoting the idea that Minsk was signed at ‘gunpoint’ and can therefore be ignored.

I studied theological textual analysis at University. When two texts produce very similar narratives one looks for shared source. (In textual analysis of the New Testament this is known as Q). What is the source behind this switch in narrative in the Guardian and Daily Telegraph? My guess would be that somewhere in the murky depths of Whitehall, No 10 and MI6, it has been decided to support Kiev in this new path and the media have been briefed accordingly.

The Minsk agreements are/were a path to peace. In general, in a situation of this kind, local or regional autonomy is the accepted solution; there was nothing out of the ordinary in Minsk. The West should be squarely behind them.

In effectively repudiating the Minsk agreements Kiev rolls the situation back to what it was before these agreements were signed. That is to a time when their policy was to gain control over Donetsk and Lugansk by military force. No wonder that the Russian side has read the signals and is bringing forces to the region. They have said they will intervene in Donbass if Kiev tries to retake it militarily. So – the change in the situation has arisen because of Kiev’s signals that it is even less committed to Minsk than it was previously. At the same time as they blatantly support this change of position in Kiev the Western media also tries to hoax the public (no doubt with very considerable success) that the destabilised situation is the result of Russian aggression. It is amazing. Completely shameless. And of course, very dangerous.

Notes

  1. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/04/16/ready-assault-ukraines-war-weary-troops-brace-new-onslaught/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/05/eu-sounds-alarm-at-russian-troops-ukraine-border-moves

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer