By Eric ZUESSE
The two-hour December 7th Biden-Putin conversation (via video-conference) focused mainly on the conflict between Ukraine and its breakaway former Donbass region, which is in Ukraine's far east and borders on Russia.
In order to understand the conversation, some basic history that produced the current situation there needs to be stated, because this is the point-of-reference behind the summit-conversation that occurred on December 7th:
The 5 September 2014 Minsk Protocol, and its followup 12 February 2015 Minsk II Agreement, established the agreements between Ukraine and the Donbass breakaway region, that ended the intense hot war; and both of the two Minsk agreements were negotiated directly between the two warring sides, in order to stop the hot war, in which the Donbassers were defending themselves against the bombs and missiles from Ukraine, and to peacefully establish the framework - called "The Normandy Framework" - in which a final settlement between the two sides in that war would peacefully become settled, by its two participants.
That "Normandy Framework" was between the two warring regions - Ukraine versus the breakaway former region of Ukraine - being advised by three nations that were not directly, but only indirectly, involved, and which three nations wanted the matter to be settled without restoring the full-fledged warfare which had existed in 2014: these three were France, Germany, and Russia. (France and Germany were involved because they led the European Union, and because the EU wanted Ukraine to become a member of the EU. Russia was involved because both Ukraine and Donbass are on Russia's border, and Russia doesn't want U.S. missiles to be placed less than a ten-minute flying time to hit Moscow. Obama wanted Ukraine in the EU as a preparation for Ukraine to become admitted into NATO so that America can then place its missiles in Ukraine.) The United States was not invited into the Normandy framework, because its Government wanted restoration of the warfare between those two regions and a conquest of Donbass by Ukraine.
The initial idea for the Normandy framework had been worked out between Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Francois Hollande, in order to enable Ukraine to be restored to peace so that all member-states of the EU could then vote favorably on Ukraine's admission of Ukraine into the European Union. (Otherwise, a veto by one or more of the EU member-nations would be certain, in accord with the EU's still-unratified 'Constitution', because the EU's "Rule of Unanimity" would apply, and because any attempt to ovderride that "Rule" would collapse the EU altogether.)
Hollande and Merkel would not have initiated the Minsk agreements unless they were dissatisfied with the way that Obama was dealing with the Ukraine issue. In other words: America was being shut out of the matter entirely, by the EU. Biden is demanding that America now replace the Minsk agreements by an agreement that will be forced upon the Donbass by Russia. Putin said no. He said that the two warring parties need to come to an agreement, and that he won't allow the United States to nullify the commitments that both sides (Ukraine v. Donbass) signed onto in those agreements. America's demanding that Ukraine's side in the conflict be imposed upon Donbass - so that Ukraine's violations of Minsk are allowed but Donbass's violations in response are prohibited - is not acceptable to him. He especially emphasizes this because ONLY Ukraine's side wants the Minsk agreements to become nullified.
The big hang-up in implementing the agreements is, and has been, the refusal by Ukraine to allow the breakaway region to become a special administrative district of Ukraine as Crimea had been during the 60 years (1954-2014) during which Crimea was transferred by the Soviet dictator away from Russia (of which it had been a part since 1783) and forced into Ukraine. Because of the resistance by Crimeans, Crimea became allowed to be largely self-ruled within Ukraine. The U.S. regime refuses to allow Ukraine to agree to treating the breakaway Donbass region in that way. The U.S. has the full backing, in this, of the two Ukrainian racist-fascist, or nazi, Ukrainian Parties, "Right Sector," and (originally called the "Social-Nationalist Party of Ukraine" in honor of Nazi Germany) the "Freedom" Party, or "Svoboda" (which means freedom in Ukrainian); and those two Parties had been the on-the-ground forces whom the CIA trained ( inside the U.S. Embassy, and also in Poland) to perpetrate the U.S. coup that occurred in Kiev in February 2014. The coup's preparation began no later than 2011. An extermination plan was promptly instituted after the coup, by the new Ukrainian government, against the supporters of Donbass autonomy, and the war against Donbass began, in order to force the residents there to remain in the new, U.S.-imposed, nazi Ukraine. (Among their "Commanders" who admitted this was Ruslan Onishchtschenko , who even admitted that their "mission, being employees of the Ministry of the Interior, is to clean the cities after the army has worked this territory with aircraft, artillery and heavy military equipment.") Obama wanted the residents eliminated from there, because 90+% of them had voted for the Ukrainian President ("Janukovych") that Obama overthrew. (Obama overthrew him because that Ukrainian President didn't want Ukraine to become a NATO-member.) If those people, in Donbass, were to vote in another Ukrainian Presidential election, then the U.S. control over Ukraine would terminate. The U.S. regime doesn't want that to happen, because it wants to place its missiles there. It also planned to turn Russia's biggest naval base, which was (and remains) in Crimea, into a U.S. naval base, but Russia succeeded in thwarting that aspect of his plan.
Although most EU member-nations wanted Ukraine to become a member of the EU, they objected to America's plan for a hot war against Russia, even though they were hostile toward Russia.
On 26 April 2015, the Financial Times headlined "Germany urges Ukraine to fulfil Minsk ceasefire agreement", and that neoconservative news-medium reported:
In the UK, which has followed the US in taking a tougher line against Moscow, an official said Ukraine should fulfill its side of the Minsk deal and "not give Russia the space to criticise them".
The latest Minsk accord, agreed in February under pressure from Germany and France, has reduced fighting and led to the withdrawal of some heavy weapons from frontlines, though soldiers and civilians still die almost daily.
But Berlin is worried that Kiev is dragging its feet over other parts of the fragile deal, notably in trying to postpone political decentralisation until after local elections are staged in separatist-held territory. [That "until after local elections are staged in separatist-held territory" turned out to have been a false excuse, because those elections soon did occur and Ukraine continued its refusal nonetheless].
For Ukraine this is critical because it does not want to hand over power to separatist leaders in the Donbas region, who are not recognised by the international community. EU diplomats say, however, that while local elections are indeed envisaged under Minsk, the accord does not insist that they take place before decentralisation.
The "17th EU-Ukraine Summit Joint Statement" was issued on 27 April 2015 and was the 17th EU Summit. It was the first EU Summit that included Ukraine (though still not a member, and still at war), and they stated that the EU nations expressed their full support for the Minsk Agreements including the Package of Measures of 12 February 2015, endorsed by UNSC Resolution 2202 of 17 February 2015.
12. The leaders called on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk Agreements and honour their commitments and underlined the Russian authorities' responsibility in this regard.
They tried to lay the blame upon Russia if the agreements were to turn out not to be complied with. But soon thereafter, no doubt could any longer exist that it was their own side - the Ukraine side - that refused to allow the basic provision, which was that Ukraine must negotiate a settlement with Donbass, to be fulfilled. The EU leaders were either willingly conned, or else they were lying throughout.
Already, on 12 April 2015, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) had bannered "French Secret Service: Russia never planned to invade Ukraine" and reported:
"The real difficulty with NATO is the fact that US intelligence dominates while French intelligence is only occasionally taken into account. That is why it is important for us to appoint sufficient NATO commanders of French origin. NATO has announced that the Russians are preparing to invade Ukraine. However, based on the findings of the DRM, this claim could not be upheld. In fact, we found that the Russians had neither set up command posts nor took any logistical measures, such as setting up field hospitals. There were no activities to be undertaken in preparation for a military invasion. At the second level of command there was no corresponding cause. As a result, it became clear that our assumptions were correct. The Russian soldiers actually seen in Ukraine acted as if they were carrying out a maneuver to put pressure on Ukrainian President Pororschenko rather than an imminent invasion."
With this statement, which surprisingly was not discussed further in the committee, the French general contradicts the official NATO doctrine, according to which Russia had made massive preparations to invade Ukraine.
Gomart is a seasoned officer in the French Army and was only appointed Chief of Military Intelligence in 2013.
His statements coincide with the criticism of Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier , who complained about NATO Commander-in-Chief Philip Breedlove because of obvious differences in intelligence about the situation in Ukraine. The US general was exaggerating Russia's military role since the crisis began, Der Spiegel reported a few weeks ago. Accordingly, the Chancellery spoke of "dangerous propaganda", while Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier intervened with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Steinmeier said there was no intervention, only inquiries. "It is true that I myself have had two inquiries myself in situations in which the information we had from our sources did not completely agree with information that came either from NATO or the American side." A dispute arises because the federal government has no interest in that [American view]. He is in close contact with US Secretary of State John Kerry so that such differences do not arise....
In the EU, there is growing resistance to the escalation in relations with Russia, as it is being pursued by the US hawks ( see the notorious thought leader Zbigniew Brzeziński ). Italy and Greece want to get out of the spiral of sanctions because their own economies are being damaged. France must be saved because the coalition of conservatives and social democrats must prevent the Front National from winning at all costs in order not to endanger the euro zone substantially. The fact that the official NATO version about Ukraine is now being described as incorrect by France (of all places) is indelicate in this context.
A few weeks ago, US President Barack Obama surprisingly called for a withdrawal and temporarily stopped sending US soldiers to Ukraine. NATO had announced that it would take over some of the training of the Ukrainian army from March. In the course of this training, the right-wing extremist militias in Ukraine are also being trained by the Americans . They are to be integrated into the regular Ukrainian army, but are allowed to continue to act autonomously. The right-wing extremists reject the Minsk Agreement.
On 25 April 2015, DWN headlined "USA and Russia are preparing for a new escalation in Ukraine" and reported:
The ceasefire in the Eastern Ukraine is deceptive: Apparently the Russians and the Americans are preparing for new military actions. The US government wants to keep the issue on the boil, to put the EU and the proposed Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership treaty under pressure [force European governments to accept it, which was a major Obama project to increase their bond with America and their separation from Russia]. The US has fallen in an energy-war tight spot, since Moscow announced it will no longer manage its natural gas from 2019 through Ukraine. The next military incident seems to be only a matter of time.
The President as a perpetual commander: the US has an economic interest that Ukraine remains a controversial land.(Photo: Reuters)
While somewhat keeping the warring parties in eastern Ukraine to the agreements of Minsk, there are, running in the background, obvious preparations for a new escalation. The Financial Times is already writing about a "war of words". Such propaganda war is inherently favorable to escalation. France and Germany have noted that the US government has indeed recently been criticized for manifest misinformation. But this doesn't prevent the US officials to maintain the chosen course. The US envoy Geoffrey Pyatt is tweeting almost maniacally about new threats every hour....
The US government has only recently come under fire from France and Germany for blatant misinformation. But this does not prevent the US representatives from maintaining the course they have chosen....
On 30 April 2015, Voice of America bannered "Carter Pleased with Russia's Embrace of Minsk Agreement" and reported: "In an exclusive interview with VOA after meeting with President Putin, [Jimmy] Carter said the Elders were pleased with Russia's allegiance to the Minsk agreement. 'There's not any doubt in our mind that the Russians genuinely want to see all the aspects of that concluded.'... [But, General 'Breedlove', the NATO Commander], said many of Russia's actions are 'consistent with preparations for another offensive' into Ukrainian territory.... [And], Commenting on Carter's remarks, the U.S. State Department said Thursday it would not speculate on the reasoning behind his [Carter's] statements. 'We know that Russia has continued to undermine the Minsk implementation plan and the Minsk agreements.'" The Obama Administration was determined to discredit that prior Democratic Party U.S. President's obstructionist pronouncements.
On 2 May 2015, DWN headlined "Chaos in Kiev: Ukraine army now fighting against their own militias" and reported that a U.S.-supplied battalion of nazis ( far-right 'volunteers', or mercenaries, whom Ukraine's Government allowed to fight against the Donbass residents and to be led by leaders of the Right Sector and Svoboda parties) were now being attacked by some members of Ukraine's regular army. Basically, the U.S. regime, which had imposed this government upon Ukraine, was now goading it to provoke Russian forces into the war, perhaps in order for America then to have 'justification' to go to war against Russia itself, so as to defend the Ukrainian government that America's own Ukrainian coup had installed.
As a wrap-up here, the great geostrategic analyst, Alexander Mercouris, headlined, on 8 December 2021, "Following Putin-Biden summit, Neocons push for war", and he and others listed there the ways in which the entire Biden Administration's international-affairs team are not only incompetents, but hate-driven incompetents, who are maniacally determined to destroy Russia, if they possibly can.
So, Putin's rejection of Biden's demand for the U.S. Government to replace the Minsk agreements by an 'agreement' that would be imposed upon Donbass by the U.S (and any perhaps willing U.S.-vassal-nation such as Poland) is actually little else than an application by him of his previously stated "red line" that must not be crossed or else Russia will instantaneously be in a hot war against any nation that does. The world will soon know whether Biden has finally gotten the message.