The cruel assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the Donetsk Republic, in Donetsk on August 31 by elements of the Kiev regime’s forces backed by NATO, and the wounding of many others in the bomb blast that took his life, confirms what I wrote three years ago, that the Minsk 2 agreement signed in February 2015 to try to establish peace in Ukraine was a rotting corpse. Russia, ever more hopeful than I that reason and the desire for peace would prevail stuck to it nevertheless and consistently called for adherence to its terms despite facing obstruction at every turn. The murder of the leader of the Donetsk Republic confirms that not only has the corpse been rotting on the battle fields of the Donbass all this time, it is now picked apart by the carrion birds of prey that want war with the Donbass and with Russia and only its skeleton remains. It’s time to bury it.
Some NATO members such as Germany paid lip service to the Minsk agreement and insisted it be complied with but always complaining that it was Russia that was not pushing the Donbass Republics to bend to NATO’s will. But in fact the Donbass Republics tried as they could to comply with the terms under very difficult circumstances and constants provocations, attacks and assassinations of its leadership.
Poroshenko and his fascist allies instead refused to change the constitution as stipulated to accommodate the concerns of the Donbas republics, have tried to suppress the Communist Party and other parties in opposition, have refused to withdraw heavy weaponry from the line of contact, have maintained increasingly heavy artillery attacks on the civilian populations and areas and cut off routes for essential foodstuffs, medical aid and technical equipment. Rather than enjoying a ceasefire, the peoples of the Donbas are under a constant state of siege.
Poroshenko, the NATO puppet leader of the Kiev government in Ukraine openly calls for a military solution to the crisis and has increased the draft in and recently reorganized the Ukraine armed forces command structures to make them more effective in a coming offensive. The US and Canada and other NATO countries have been pouring in arms and ammunition and “advisers” and “mercenaries” in support of the fascist forces, putting additional pressure on Russia with multiple military exercises from the Baltic to Bulgaria, where more tanks have been recently dispatched to “send Russia a message.”
The reality of the situation was stated on the 18th of August 2015, when President Putin stated, “It was the Donbas militias that suggested withdrawing all military equipment with calibre under 100mm. Unfortunately, the opposite side didn’t do that. On the contrary, according to the available data, it is concentrating its units there, including those reinforced with military hardware. As for the Minsk-2 agreement, I believe there is no alternative for resolving the situation and that peace will prevail in the long run… Our task is to minimize the losses with which we will come to this peace.”
There can be no doubt that the Minsk-2 agreements do provide the framework for a peaceful settlement of the impasse but there is also no doubt that the Kiev and NATO forces have no intention of abiding by its terms and are preparing for another offensive.
Putin also stated, “I hope that it will not come to direct large scale clashes.” Yet, the people of the Donbas would be surprised to be told that the thousands of shells raining down on them from the Kiev junta’s artillery in order to provoke those clashes do not count as large scale attacks.
Bu what is the purpose of this state of siege? Since the Donbas forces have proved their strength and resilience the Kiev regime has little hope of achieving the total destruction of those forces and imposing its will on the Donbas. Kiev and NATO also know that Russia does not want to be drawn into a direct clash with NATO that could lead to a general war. In consequence the Kiev-NATO axis have decided to engage in operations that have direct political repercussions designed to disrupt the Russian-Donbas alliance or to paralyze it and try to enlist new allies and it is noted that the western media immediately blamed Russia for the assassination to try to stir up trouble. At the same time they have decided to make the war more costly for the Donbas and Russia both in military and economic terms, and to try to bring about a gradual exhaustion of their physical and moral resistance.
We see this strategy being played out with the constant increase of economic warfare against Russia, which is clearly the ultimate target, the increasing use of propaganda including the planting in the media of the most absurd stories about Russia and its government, the use of the OSCE observes as intelligence agents for NATO as happened in the Yugoslav war, and, in the political sphere, attempts by the United States and Britain to humiliate Russia; from the Olympics to the downing of flight MH17, the Skripal affair, and the fantasies about Russian influence on western “democracies.”
Clausewitz said that “war is a pulsation of violence, variable in strength and therefore, variable in the speed with which it explodes and discharges it energy’ and that, “If we keep in mind that war springs from some political purpose, it is natural that the prime cause of its existence will remain the supreme consideration in conducting it.”
Indeed we see in Ukraine the expression of the Anglo-American-German political purpose: the desire to force Russia to submit to their will. They failed in World War I. The attempt failed again in World War II. The so–called Cold War succeeded in bankrupting the socialist state but the capitalist state that rose from that sad decline is gathering its strength once again and refuses to submit to any one’s diktats. And so the NATO coup in Kiev, in order to take Ukraine away from Russian influence as the Nazis tried to do in World War II.
But the Kiev-NATO cabal cannot break the will of the peoples of the Donbas nor of Russia and so the constant attacks, the constant propaganda, the constant turning of the economic screws.
These actions are all illegal under international law and the laws of war. They are violations of the principles and articles of the UN Charter. They are violations of several Geneva Conventions and other international treaties. The attacks on civilians are war crimes. The use of prohibited weaponry, in these attacks, is a war crime. The collective punishment of entire populations is a war crime. The use of economic warfare is a war crime. Yet nothing is done by any western government to stop it nor does the International Criminal Court lay any charges where it can. Instead it stands by and condones these crimes by its inaction.
Article 6 of the Rome Statute that created the ICC states the actions of the NATO-Kiev axis constitute acts of genocide.
“For the purpose of this Statute, “genocide” means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;”
Article 7 states that, “crimes against humanity includes persecution of an identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic…grounds.”
Article 7-2(b) states that, “the crime of extermination includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia, the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population.”
Article 8 defining war crimes, states that,
“it includes willful killing, willfully causing great suffering, extensive destruction of property not justified by military necessity, and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population not taking part in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, attacking or bombarding by whatever means towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives, declaring that no quarter will be given, using weapons designed to inflict unnecessary suffering or are indiscriminate, and intentionally using starvation as a method of warfare.”
The list goes on and is a compendium of the crimes being committed by the Kiev-NATO axis powers in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Minister reacted to this act of NATO supported international terrorism, for one of the aims of the assassination is to terrorise the peoples of the Donbass, by stating,
“It is a blatant provocation aimed at undermining the implementation of the Minsk Agreement in eastern Ukraine. Given the current situation, it’s impossible to talk about the nearest meetings in the Normandy format like many of our European partners would have wanted. It is a serious situation that must be analyzed. We are doing it right now.”
But it is not just a “provocation” for in concert with the assassination the Kiev regime has begun troop movements near Donbass lines. It also seems to be a prelude to further military action.
“After the terrorist act, we’ve registered the movements of troops along the Line of Contact,” said Eduard Basurin, a representative of the DPR Operations Command. “The Ukrainian forces were put on alert for combat training.
“We think this is the eventual goal in terms of destabilizing the situation in the areas near the Line of Contact – something the Ukrainian and US secret services have hoped to gain. We don’t rule out an offensive at one of the sections of the line. They also hope to push the situation in the entire republic off the balance.”
“This act of terror is aimed at destabilizing the situation in the republic and was carried out by Ukraine’s special services under the control of US special services. All military units have been put on the highest possible level of alert.”
When the Minsk Agreements were signed in 2015 it was doubtful that the Kiev-NATO axis had any intention of using it except as a means of pausing their operations in order to reorganise and prepare for the next offensive and so it seems to be.
The only way forward is to resolve the conflict at the political level on the basis of the recognition of the right to self-rule and autonomy for the Donbas republics, the creation of a federal state to assure ethnic stability, and the commitment by Ukraine that it will be a neutral state and not part of any plan to “contain” Russia, a plan that can only lead to world war. But the NATO puppets in charge of Ukraine do not act in the interests of Ukraine. They act in the interests of the masters of war who have no concern for humanity in general or Ukrainians in particular and if they continue their operations they will not succeed in uniting Ukraine but only in laying it waste. The assassination of Alexander Zakharchenko, a crime that should be condemned by the world, is a message from NATO to Russia, that instead of living in peace, as quietly flows the Don, to use the title of Sholokhov’s novel, the people of the Donbass can expect only more war, for a hero is dead, and bloody flows the Don.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”