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Germany’s ex-leader Angela Markel spills beans on Ukraine War

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (Kay Nietfeld/Pool via AP)
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Johannesburg – In a week in which the use of nukes in the Ukraine conflict made headlines – with the Kremlin vowing to use every means at its disposal for self-defence – Germany muddied the peaceful waters with revelations that the West had prepared Ukraine to fight Russia.

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of Europe’s long-serving premiers who was at the country’s helm for 16 years, spilled the beans in a wide-ranging interview about her time in office as the most powerful woman in Europe.

She spoke frankly about the Ukraine war and how Berlin and Paris “prepared” Kyiv to develop muscle to stand up to Russia.

In September 2014, Germany and France brokered a peace deal that culminated in the Minsk Agreements. The agreement halted a Russian-backed rebellion by the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine that was fighting to secede. Speaking to the German Zeit magazine this week, Merkel stood by her policy toward Russia and Ukraine, conceding that although it was not successful it remained something she could not fault.

The Minsk Agreements sought to stop Russia from fighting alongside the Donbas rebels, Merkel said. Ukraine had failed to subdue the republics of Luhansk and Donetsk that make up the Donbas region by force, and the EU through Germany and France, were afraid of the total annihilation of Kyiv by the Russian-backed rebels.

The Minsk Agreements were designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk special status within the Ukrainian state instead of seceding. The two predominantly Russian-speaking republics were up in arms following a US-backed coup in Ukraine in 2014. The coup ousted the then democratically-elected pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, causing the death of 108 protesters and 13 police officers.

By the time calm returned, Ukraine’s Crimea was “incorporated” into Russia. Kyiv and the West maintain that Crimea was “annexed” by Russia.

And, of greater importance, according to Merkel, the 2014/2015 “peace agreements” were meant to bid ample time for Kyiv to strengthen its military during the long lull in hostilities.

After years of futile appeals by Russia to implement the Minsk Agreements, Kyiv, with the support of France, Germany and the West, deliberately dilly-dallied.

In February this year, after Russia’s patience had been thoroughly tested, it eventually wore thin, resulting in Moscow unleashing the “special military operation”. The West, almost indifferent in the wake of Russia’s numerous appeals for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, confirmed Merkel’s assertion in both word and deed.

Merkel’s revelations appear to cast new light on the Western-backed conflict that geopolitical scholars agree has become America’s proxy war, and by extension the EU’s.

Merkel explained: “Ukraine used this time to get stronger, as you can see today. The Ukraine of 2014/2015 is not the Ukraine of today. As you saw in the battle for Debaltsevo in early 2015 (Russian President Vladimir) Putin could easily have overrun them at the time. And I very much doubt that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they do now to help Ukraine.”

When the Ukraine forces were on the brink of total defeat by the Russian-backed rebels in 2015, both Germany and France returned to the negotiating table with Moscow and brokered yet another peace deal that came to be known as the “Second Minsk protocol”. Merkel elaborated: “It was clear to all of us that the conflict was frozen, that the problem had not been solved, but that gave Ukraine valuable time.”

On the strength of Merkel’s revelation, the West had deliberately prepared long for the current war. And so did Ukraine, although Kyiv played its cards in a way that appeared to suggest no pre-war joint planning with the West took place.

The astronomical amounts of money that the US and the West continue to pump into Kyiv’s coffers, coupled with a range of sophisticated lethal weapons and sanctions to defeat Russia, prove that Ukraine has been used as NATO’s outpost in their proxy war against Russia.

It has become abundantly clear that the Ukraine war has very little to do with the Ukrainians, but rather the Global North in the war for the retention of their hegemony.

This is a war that Russia’s Putin has vowed to fight till the end, including, if needs be, unleashing nuclear weapons in self-defence in case the US-led NATO find an excuse to directly get involved in the war against Russia.

For its part, NATO has constantly threatened to trigger Article Five against Russia, which refers to an attack on one member state as an attack on all. That is why the recent Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile that accidentally landed in neighbouring Poland caused instant global panic after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky initially claimed – without verification – that Russia had “extended” the war into a NATO territory. Poland is a member of NATO and one of Russia’s most hostile neighbours.

The continued expansion of NATO eastwards – to the border with Russia – remains one of the causal factors of friction and tension in the region. Moscow’s appeal to NATO and the West that to be encircled by NATO is a direct threat to Russia’s national security has previously fallen on deaf ears.

Since the end of the Cold War at the turn of the 1990s, relations between Russia and the US-led Western nations have been characterised by a great deal of mistrust and dichotomous geopolitical persuasions.

Only during the Donald Trump years in the Oval Office did tensions between Russia and the West appear manageable.

Trump, a business tycoon-turned-politician, was least interested in NATO’s expansion and further turned off the tap of financial support to NATO, insisting that all of the bloc’s member-states needed to collectively fund the organisation’s operations instead of depending on Washington’s long-standing goodwill.

A post-Trump White House meant a return to the “old ways” of geopolitical hostilities with Russia. Since the Ukraine war broke out on February 24, there has been little or no effort by Kyiv’s funders to broker a ceasefire. Instead, hardly a week passes by without news of “further funding approvals” for Kyiv by its bankrollers to keep fighting rather than any tangible effort aimed at ending the war.

Only the UN chief, Antonio Guterres, has used his office and position effectively to broker peace between Kyiv and Moscow. But then again, if the protagonists of the war exhibit scant interest in peace, there is very little that Guterres can do, other than to wait and hope.

The one man who possesses all the might and power to end the war through a negotiated settlement is the US Presidential incumbent Joe Biden.

Forget about NATO. Without the US, the bloc is moribund at best and at worst, completely lifeless. The Ukraine war falls squarely on Washington’s foreign policy goals about the future of Russia. The idea, no doubt in light of the rampant Russo-phobia, is to weaken Russia. As the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has previously said, the US and the West aim to decimate Russia and weaken the country militarily in any way possible, before shredding the vast country into pieces of smaller nations bearing little or no international value.

That’s Russia’s foreboding fear expressed on numerous occasions by the Kremlin. Hence, President Putin recently warned that Russia could be in the Ukraine war “for a very long time”. However, his military will patiently pursue its objectives of countering the influence of Neo-Nazis in the Kyiv administration. It is a battle Moscow has elected to embark upon. And it is a battle Moscow is prepared to fight to the end – come hell or high water.

However long it takes to end the war, Russia’s primary motive remains the country’s assurance about its national security, an assurance the West is determined to decline. This week’s revelation by Merkel has necessitated a revisit as to why Ukraine is so important to the US-led NATO and the West. Ukraine is vitally crucial to NATO’s geopolitical agenda of decimating Russia.

By any means necessary, the military bloc will utilise and harness solidarity within its member-states, mobilise resources, isolate Russia internationally, and redraw the borders of the last vestiges – the last remaining symbol – of the former Soviet Union. That is the end game. Otherwise, the thousands of Ukrainian deaths from Russian shelling would be causing the Western war-mongers to rethink their collective desire to push Kyiv to Moscow’s firing line. War is never good for anyone. To bankroll Kyiv to stay on the battlefield will prove detrimental for all in the end.

Source: IOL