In what Vladimir Putin may see as an additional benefit and others as collateral damage, the Minsk agreements have deepened splits within the European Union, with European Parliament Vice President Ryszard Czarnecki saying that the German and French leaders “sacrificed” Ukraine at Munich for the economic interests of their own countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, “without the participation of the EU and promoting the economic interests of their own countries, have sacrificed Ukraine,” Czarnecki says, legitimizing Russia’s “achievements” and creating a world more beneficial to Moscow than to Kyiv.
In other comments, the Polish and European politician says that it is unfortunately the case that some European countries “would like to have peace at any price,” something they may have achieved in the short run by their concessions at Minsk but not something that is likely to last for long.
On the one hand, Czarnecki says, the pro-Moscow militants in southeastern Ukraine with continuing Russian backing are likely to try to seize even more territory and undermine Ukrainian statehood. And on the other, Kyiv will have no choice but to try to block them whatever the Minsk accords say.
By insisting on the negotiating arrangements in Minsk, Putin not only excluded the US, legitimated his agents in Ukraine, but has divided Europe still further, an amazing Russian achievement but one that the leaders of Germany and France in large measure facilitated, something that Ukrainians and all people of good will should never forget.