The beginning of the special operation in Ukraine prompted many analysts to wonder why Russia did not resort to military methods of pressure in 2014. In 2014 or a bit later, Russia could have taken Kyiv easily. If Russia had acted that way, it would have been possible to save so many lives in Donbass and avoid the situation that Russia and Ukraine are going through today.
One political decision could have saved thousands of lives. Putin says that Russia was not ready for powerful sanctions in 2014. If Russia had annexed all of Ukraine, the West would have retaliated, and its actions could have crushed the Russian economy completely.
One may assume that Putin's decisions in 2014 were based on economic factors, although Angela Merkel's new revelations give a completely different view of events in 2014.
In her recent interview with Die Zeit (Time) publication, the former German Chancellor was too frank and open-minded. Perhaps, she has never been so honest with the press and herself.
Merkel said that the Minsk Agreements were originally created as a trap for Moscow. No one was going to abide by those obligations — their true purpose was to win time. In 2014, Ukraine was weak, and Russia could quickly annex the country. NATO did not want that to happen — the alliance was making every effort to maintain the status quo.
According to Merkel, the Minsk agreements have served their purpose. Kyiv won time, strengthened the army and increased the defensive capability, whereas Moscow stopped at the achieved positions.
Angela Merkel's interview translates one simple message: she deceived Putin. Politics is dirty and complex, but in this particular case it goes about the two leaders who considered each other to be not only partners, but also close friends.
It just so happens that it was one way friendship. Moreover, Frau Angela was pretending that she was very concerned about the events that were taking place on the territory of Ukraine for so many years. She would say that she was concerned about the shelling of Donetsk, armed clashes on the line of contact and attempts of the Ukrainian side to escalate the crisis. When the situation would get out of control, Merkel would meet with Putin and promise him that she would solve everything. New negotiations would take place, and more papers would signed. However, those papers were of zero significance in the eyes of Kyiv, Berlin and the entire NATO bloc.
Will the West ever stop? It appears that the West will continue to lie to Russia, feed Moscow with fake promises and stab Russia in the back again and again. What did Russia do to deserve all this?
Angela Merkel said that it would have been impossible to bring all European countries together in 2014. Ukraine would have been left alone, she said. She admitted that NATO would not have been able to supply so much arms to Ukraine.
Interestingly, Merkel also noted that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline started anyway. One shall assume that Merkel knew that the pipeline would never be launched. The West signed the contract to push Moscow to accept the Minsk agreements.
It was impossible to build up capacities from Norway and Denmark, supplying natural gas from other countries was too complicated and too expensive. The best solution was to conclude the contract for the construction of Nord Stream 2. The project did not help anyone increase their volumes of fuel, but Russia continued to fulfill its obligations under current contracts, which turned out to be enough for all of Europe.
At the end of the interview, Angela Merkel added that all wars come to an end, which means that time will come for the parties to sit down at the negotiating table.
Moscow has reaffirmed many times since 2014-2015 that there was no alternative to the Minsk Agreements. Noteworthy, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated this formula almost before the start of the special military operation.
In February 2022, speaking after a conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Putin said:
"As for the Minsk Agreements, whether they are alive or not, whether they have any prospect or not, I believe that there is simply no other alternative.”
"It was obvious to all in post-Soviet Ukraine that the Minsk Agreements were a hoax. It was obvious that it was [fifth president of Ukraine] Petro Poroshenko who was appointed to "execute" them. I personally know him. Everything that Poroshenko promises is a hoax. It was clear that there would be no reconciliation, that Maidan was not against Yanukovych, nobody was interested in Yanukovych. As it turned out, however, that was not crystal clear to everyone in Russia," Oleg Tsarev, deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of the IV-VII convocation, Speaker of the Parliament of Novorossiya said, ukraina.ru publication said.
The policy of the "partners" led to the situation of February 2022 long before the victory of the Euromaidan.
"I'll start from afar. Twenty years ago, under "pro-Russian" [Ukrainian President Leonid] Kuchma, Ukraine was the third largest recipient of assistance from the United States. I asked my American acquaintance in Kyiv who were "mastering" this aid: "Ukraine is not Israel, it's not a US ally. Why such generosity?" He plainly explained to me: "Ukraine is a counterbalance to Russia, and this explains why Washington spared no expense,” Vladislav Mitskevich, a former Russian Foreign Ministry diplomat said.
According to Mitskevich, the Russian administration should have been guided by this position that they did not even try to conceal in the West.
"They were supporting Ukraine in everything, even in things of no importance. When I was studying in England, I met Ukrainian students, and most of them had received grants from Western organisations. Russian students did not have such support. That was very telling, it was clear which side the West was on,” Mitskevich said.
The intentions of Kyiv and its curator became clear several years ago, the diplomat continued.
"The Minsk Agreements had a time frame. Kyiv had to fulfill them by the end of 2015. By the end of 2015, it had become obvious that no one in Ukraine would comply with any agreements. Ukrainian politicians spoke about that point blank. I don't want to analyze the reasons for which the Minsk-2 Treaty was concluded, although the very signing of a truce after the Ukrainian army was defeated and demoralised by smaller forces also raises many questions. Therefore, I really don't know why Merkel's words became a revelation for so many people," Vladislav Mitskevich concluded.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev presented a map in which Russia takes the entire territory of the former Ukraine