Newsclick interviewed Prof. Aijaz Ahmad on the Ukrainian ceasefire, why it took place and whether it will hold? Aijaz believes that while the Donetsk-Lugansk forces want a genuine ceasefire, the Kiev regime agreed to it only because its forces were defeated and demoralized. Ukraine now needs time to reorganize its forces. On question of the Russian invasion, Aijaz termed as “fiction”, on par with the Syrian “chemical attack” in Ghouta. He thinks that US, along with its allies in the European Union, want the fighting to go on in this region so that they can justify the presence of NATO forces close to Russian borders. America also wants to break economic relations between Russia and European Union. Aijaz therefore feels that while both sides – the Kiev regime and the Donetsk-Lugansk forces may now want to work out their differences based on the Minsk agreement, there are other forces that may wreck the ceasefire, particluarly as the Kiev regime is under control of the NATO allies and particularly the US.
Prabir Purkayastha (PP): Hello and welcome to Newsclick. We have with us, Prof Aijaz Ahmad, and we are discussing the issues arising out of the recent ceasefire in Ukraine. Aijaz, the Ukraine ceasefire was quite sudden after the collapse of the Ukrainian front, what now is the Kiev regime front, which was built over some months. Do you think this ceasefire indicates desire on the part of the both sides to come together, sit down and work out a solution? Or is only a matter of reorganization by the Kiev regime?
Aijaz Ahmad (AA): From the side of the federalist or whatever you want to call them, from side of the opposition I thinks, it’s a very genuine desire to sit down and talk. They have very precise limited aim of maximum regional autonomy based on genuine federalization, and restoration of historic relation with Russia, cultural, linguistic, so on and so forth. Whereas in my views, Kiev regime has accepted the ceasefire because they were defeated on the ground and the economic situation is beginning to pinch. That could be the additional reason but they were defeated on the ground. Reorganization yes, but they also know, in order to reorganize, in a way that they can again pretend to be able to win, they have to be resupplied; they have to receive a lot more weapons. Now they have a very demoralized army, and very angry new narcissist militia. So this combination, they have to manage. The problem is that they are so much into the pockets of the United States, their policies are so much determined by the United States, and that they are not free agents. They cannot pursue ceasefire, peace agreements and so on unless they get a go ahead from the United States, which I don’t believe they will. So I think, likely it’s a pause, there will be another outbreak of war.
PP: Ceasefire may not hold that is what you say.
PP: And lest of course there are other pressures, other changes which is not apparent as of now. This whole argument about the collapse of the Kiev army, and I am specifically saying the Kiev army because I don’t think that it represents all of the Ukraine. Looking at that, there is an argument that the western media, of course the government, the United States, the NATO powers, all have advanced of course Ukraine , that there was sudden Russian invasion. Any proof of such invasion or do you think it’s completely a manufactured story to justify to their own people, the fact that they lost.
AA: It’s a gulf of Tonkin. Complete fiction. The only evidence that they have shown so far as I know, is a destroyed Russian tank. Where was picture actually taken, when was it taken etc. absolutely no evidence. And this is worse than the chemical attack in Syria, which was also a fiction. It would make sense, that the Russian would in some way supply them with some arms or something. This would make some sense, but we don’t have the evidence. But invasions, most of the troops have gone back, the so called president of this Kiev junta says. The state department rebuts immediately and says at least 1000 are still there. Where are they? You have satellite imaginary. Where are they?
PP: You know, it’s interesting the way this plays out. Let’s assume for instance 1000 Russian army officers are there, leading all these people, having shed their Russian uniform, the question is, there have been various mercenary forces, with Ukraine, so in what sense is it different? And here is United States and its allies, supplying rebels in Syria, with arms, openly accepting it. And yet they are talking about this huge violation of international laws, because Russia according them is doing the same.
AA: Yes, Prabir what astounds me is that American, and then British media, had collapsed quite some time ago. It has just become the mouthpiece. But Europe use to have, Germany and France in particular, use to have really serious mandate. They are talking of Russian invasion without any evidence. The degradation into this is, that EU is falling, it’s remarkable. In the heart of it, Germany and France, these are very old institution.
PP: The other significant part of the ceasefire is that unlike earlier agreements, the West hardly played any role. In fact the OSCE is there, but that also includes Russia, only country apart from the Ukrainian government, the Kiev regime, the Donetsk-Lugansk regime, the peoples republic representatives, only government body which was Russians. So do you think that also is a shift that the Ukraine government, the Kiev regime, is being forced to accept, that without Russians, there is no credible ceasefire, and there is no credible politics.
AA: On the ground that is true, that they have been forced to accept that. But the condition, they have been forced to accept it is that, they have been defeated. So they desperately needed a ceasefire. If they didn’t take cease fire, those armies could march into western Ukraine if they had wanted. They have been defeated. They needed it. the West dictated by the Americans, I am astounded , the main EU countries, their only interest was to use this fighting to announce more and more sanctions against Russians. So they would not even support a ceasefire in place. So that the situation in which the Kiev government in a desperate move accepted the Russian. Because the Russians were the only one who were interested in ceasefire.
PP: Last question on this. Do you think, like Middle East, the policy of breaking up countries, small -small states, all this is also playing here? Breakup Ukraine into smaller groups, let it fight, the ethnic violence be unleashed and so on?
AA: No, I don’t think so. I think they want the fighting to go on to actually justify more and more stationing of high grade NATO weaponry in these regions. They want perpetual fighting. They want more and more tensions because, the more bodies there are, they can whip us the hysteria in their own countries. The logic of my argument is, if they were to agree to break up the eastern and the western Ukraine separately, then they have given to Russia, a debt which they don’t want to give. And what would be left of Ukraine then, would be really a basket case; you could put as many missiles in it as much you want. The IMF loan, completely contrary to all rules of the IMF, they have given would run out in an year.
PP: And anyways we have winter now, which will take place, gas supplies to Western Europe, as well as to Ukraine is going to be a big issue. Already commercial fights are on, on that particularly in Ukraine. The ability of the European government to have, to solve the problems of Ukrainian commercial fights, and have gas supplies coming through Ukraine.
AA: you saw what happened with Poland. Poland sort of got up and said, we will give them the gas, that we have been buying from Russia. The Russians said that this is contrary to the agreement. It is said that in practice, they reduced the amount of gas that was going in. 24 hours later Ukraine back tracked. This is what is going to happen.
PP: Commercially, this is the violence of the agreement.
AA: Of course it is. And Poland does not have the right to sell that gas.
PP: so anyways, it will be interesting to watch what happens, the military situation having changed, the politics has changed, winters is going to bite, that which will put Russian in an advantageous situation. Of course, the economic war is going to continue as it seems. So no change on the western side, the NATO side, but some change in the ground.
AA: I must say one last thing. I really do not understand what the German game is? Also France. Latest poll says that roughly 85% of the people in Germany and France are both, are against arming the Kiev Junta forces as well as bringing Ukraine into EU. That is what their populations are saying. What national purpose does that serve for Germany which needs that gas? My sense is that one of the major objectives of the American foreign policy in this whole thing is to break the economic relations between Russia and EU. Because that is very major area in which some degree of independence was developing, independence from the United States. What purpose does it serve for Germany, beats me.
PP: So let’s watch how it develops, whether the European allies show some independence or not, and how the military political equations in Ukraine play out between the two forces now. Thank you very much Aijaz, we will come back to this issues, as and when the things develop.