Kiev came out with peace initiatives in the middle of June just to save face and sign the economic part of the EU association agreement. The next document made public was the statement of Petro Poroshenko declaring the renewal of combat actions in Donbass. The regular army, the National Guard, border guards and security service – practically all law enforcement agencies got an order to launch offensive actions trying to minimize civilian casualties.
Germans have gone through the process of denazification, but for all those years they have believed that Wehrmacht waged a “fair war”. In 1995 the exhibition "War of Extermination" moving around German cities evoked a public outcry and sparked the feeling of indignation. It was devoted to war crimes of the Wehrmacht carried out by the German armed forces during World War II. While the principal perpetrators of the Holocaust amongst German armed forces were the Nazi German “political' armies” (the SS-Totenkopfverbände and particularly the Einsatzgruppen), the regular armed forces represented by the Wehrmacht committed war crimes of their own, particularly at the Eastern Front in the war against the Soviet Union. In Hamburg about 2,500 police officers were deployed to prevent clashes by rival protesters near the site of the travelling show. It was in 2004. Almost 60 years had passed then since the war was over. How much time will Ukrainians need to understand that the halos drawn on the pictures around the heads of those who were allegedly shot by “unidentified snipers” on Maidan or those who were made martyrs by the Kiev regime - it’s not just a matter of bad taste but rather desecration and mockery over moral values. The Donbass chasteners using mortars and howitzers against refugees, the destruction of living quarters, schools and hospitals – all these actions are the crimes, not heroic deeds.
Why does not Poroshenko want to prolong the truce? Because he knows the instrument for achieving peace – combat actions! John Kerry actually repeated the Poroshenko’s statement on peace management in Ukraine. In his recent phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov the US State Secretary said that he believed that the declared ceasefire was doomed to failure. I remember US President Ronald Reagan said in his time that there were things more important than peace in this world. Indeed, the global domination is more important for the United States elite than anything else. The events that have started in Iraq are a lesson to be learnt with Afghanistan to follow. These are the results of US ideology implemented in practice.
Is the opinion shared by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and US State Secretary John Kerry popular in the West? Do many people believe that the use of force is the way to achieve peaceful settlement in Ukraine? No way! Not in Germany, for instance. It’s important that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the situation in Ukraine is extremely dangerous and a wave of violence can hit at any moment to make useless any further political and military efforts. The Minister was supported by the Chancellor who said she intended to continue the efforts for settling the crisis in eastern Ukraine 1.
It’s sad that Kiev encourages the nationalists going on a rampage. It affirms that the people believe the war is imposed from outside and Ukrainians have to fight to defend themselves, their homes and these are the lofty aims worth to be fought for. The words do not belong to the Kiev rulers. They belong to German historian Friedrich Meinecke who said them a hundred years ago. Germans were greatly elated at the beginning of WWI; they believed what their patriotic media wrote and were inspired by nationalist slogans calling for crusades in the east. There is an intriguing coincidence here, “Ukrainian soldiers will risk their lives in order to save lives of
women, children and aged people, everyone who lives in the Donbas and doesn't take the illegal weapons. This is the age-old chivalrous nature of the Ukrainian army. We bear responsibility for every peaceful life that, God forbid, can be broken off in the course of the counterterrorist operation. It requires substantial deliberation of every step in holding of the operation”.
Today nobody cares about historic parallels in Ukraine. But the attitude is different in other European countries. Germans remember well how nationalist fervor gave way to apathy and defeatism as the Schlieffen Plan stymied getting troops dug up in trenches instead of advance and the population had to face hunger.
Germans are a nation known for its sound feeling of pragmatism. The lessons of the past make German diplomacy seek ways out of the quagmire of Ukrainian crisis.
Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble, Norbert Röttgen, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs from Christian Democratic Union, the Russia Coordinator of the German government and Deputy Head of the Conservative Faction in the Bundestag Dr. Andreas Schockenhoff talk about possible imposition of sanctions against Russia, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has adopted a more conciliatory posture. The German Foreign Office has invited for a meeting the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia and France. The event took place on July 2. In Berlin Russia made the first step allowing OSCE observers to be placed at the Russian observation posts. As the meeting was wounding up, the German Foreign Minister said it he did not expect a solution by a wave of a magic wand, but the event was the first and significant step on the way to ceasefire. He is being cautious and this approach is justified. Many remember how the previous accords have failed, for instance: the agreement of February 21 was kind of a stillborn child, the Geneva April 17 agreements produced no results. Nothing will change for the better till the US emissaries call the shots.
It’s not civil war that Ukraine needs, but rather peace. Peace is what meets the interests of Europe no matter what they think overseas about it.
1 Kämpfe in der Ukraine: Steinmeier warnt vor Explosion der Gewalt/ Spiegel online, 02.07.2014.