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Saturday, February 7, 2015 Talks in Moscow – a two-part analysis http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2015/02/talks-in-moscow-two-part-analysis.htmlby Alexander Mercouris Part one (On 6th February 2015) They have apparently continued for 5 hours and are still not finished though it seems some sort of document is being prepared for tomorrow. Three comments: 1. If negotiations go on for 5 hours that does not suggest a smooth and conflict free discussion.
2. One of the most interesting things about the Moscow talks is that they mainly happened without the presence of aides and officials i.e. Putin, Hollande and Merkel were by themselves save for interpreters and stenographers. Putin and Merkel are known to be masters of detail and given his background as an enarque I presume Hollande also is. However the German and French officials will be very unhappy about this. The Russians less so because since the meeting is taking place in the Kremlin they are listening in to the discussions via hidden microphones. One wonders why this is happening? Even if the Russian officials are not listening in Merkel and Hollande will assume they are. The fact that Russian officials were not present is therefore less significant than that German and French officials have been barred from the meeting by their respective chiefs, suggesting that Merkel and Hollande do not entirely trust them. There has been an extraordinary degree of secrecy about this whole episode and it rather looks as if Merkel and Hollande were anxious to stop leaks and to prevent information about the talks from getting out. Presumably this is why their officials were barred from the meeting. From whom one wonders do Merkel and Hollande want to keep details of the meeting secret? From the media? From other members of their own governments? From the Americans? What do they need to keep so secret? The frustration and worry on the part of all these groups must be intense. 3. The fact that the British are excluded from the talks is going down very badly with many people here in London. It has not escaped people’s notice that this is the first major negotiation to settle a big crisis in Europe in which Britain is not involved since the one that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. Of course it is largely the fault of the inept diplomacy of Cameron, who has taken such an extreme pro-Ukrainian position that Moscow simply doesn’t see him as someone worth talking to. Also one suspects Merkel and Hollande do not trust Cameron not to leak the whole discussion to whomever they want to keep it from. Having said that it is difficult to see this as anything other than further evidence of Britain’s decline into complete irrelevance. I cannot imagine Thatcher being excluded in this way. If the United Kingdom is indeed in the process of breaking up (and as I suspected the Scottish referendum settled nothing with polls indicating that the SNP may make an almost clean sweep of all the seats in Scotland in the election in May) then the slide into irrelevance still has a long way to go. Part two (On 7th February 2015) I am coming increasingly round to the view of Alastair Newman that Merkel and Hollande came with no plan to Moscow but with the purpose of having what diplomats call “a full and frank discussion” in private with Putin looking at all the issues in the one place in Europe – the Kremlin – where they can be confident the Americans are not spying on them. That must be why they sent their officials away.
The heads of the Russian Federation, France and Germany are preparing a document on the implementation of Minsk agreements. It is reported by the presidential press service. “Based on the proposals made by the French President and German Chancellor, joint work is currently carried out to prepare the text of a possible joint document on the implementation of Minsk agreements, a document that would include a proposal of the President of Ukraine and the proposals put forward today and added by Russian President Putin” – said a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov.
Message from Lifenews. “Under the guise of a cease-fire for the evacuation of civilians from the combat zone Ukrainian invaders brought up ammunition to Debaltsevo. There is evidence that such a cunning plan to be implemented by the Ukrainian military tomorrow, too. Eduard Basurin told about this during an evening briefing. Also, 11 saboteurs were destroyed and 2 taken prisoner in Donetsk today. ”
Message from DPR Intelligence. ” DPR AF intelligence reports that security forces evicted patients from nursing homes in Avdeyevka and transported elders to the village Beletskoye. The building is on Mira str., 46 is preparing to host the Ukrainian military units. This is done in secret, to make AFN further consider that there is a nursing home. If the defenders of Donbass learn the truth and destroy the barracks of AFU, then the latter will bring Ukrainian media there and argue that the DPR troops fired on social facilities. This is a common practice. AFU organize warehouses, barracks and gun emplacements in hospitals, schools, kindergartens and houses. So, in Dzerzhinsk Ukrainian security forces oust people from the apartments and equip firing points there. Right sector units were brought to the city for conduct of street fighting. ”
Message from militiaman with the call sign “Schastlivy”: “We cleaned up the checkpoint in a few meters from Debaltsevo. And moved away, a stir started there. They try to break through the defense with a reinforcement. But – were suppressed. Pervomaisk was leveled from Popasnaya, then Cossacks sent greetings. Plotnitsky came to our front. Provocateurs in Chernukhino were destroyed.”
Message from journalists. “The second bombardment of refugees for today. Battalion ” Aydar “fired at refugees during the evacuation at Lugansk “. They started shooting both at civilians who left this village, tried to leave it, and at anything that moves ”
On February 6 Ukrainian military violated local truce during the evacuation of civilians from the settlement Chernukhino and opened fire on them, reports RIA Novosti. It is also reported that the journalists of channel Russia 24 Dmitry Malyshev and Artyom Kol were fired at.
According to the DPR Ministry of Defense Corps Commander Eduard Basurin: “Ukrainian armed forces were firing militia positions and settlements of Donetsk People’s Republic 55 times over the past day. The main part of the attacks happened in Donetsk, Dokuchayevsk and Makeyevka. At 5 am punishers also began shelling Starobeshevo. Shells hit a private house, the building of MES and the building of “Electroset”. Intense fighting also took place in the area of Chernukhino and Lastochkino at night. During the attack two civilians were killed, both – in Donetsk. 9 persons were injured: 4 of them – in Donetsk, 3 – in Dokuchayevsk, 1 – in Makeyevka and 1 – in Razdolnoye of Starobeshevo district. ”
On February 6 the intensity of the fighting decreased slightly in Novorossia, due to the declaration of local truces in the various sectors of the front for the evacuation of civilians from the front zone.
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