Six days after the first official phone conversation between the American President Donald trump and the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and the missile destroyed the kitchen of Nina Zharikova.
No one was hurt, says 54-year-old Zharikova, looking through the hole, the remainder of the missiles “Grad”, which released located at a distance of several kilometers separatists. The missile struck the roof of a humble home, where Zharikova lives with his daughter and five year old son. “But we miraculously survived,” she claims.
On the winding front line between the Ukrainian army and the separatists controlling two enclave along the Russian border for months were relatively calm. But the next day after a telephone conversation, held on 28 January between trump and Putin, to replace the regular shootings of small arms in the Ukrainian Donbass came the fire of artillery, tanks and missiles — in violation of the agreement on the ceasefire, 2015.
One gets the impression that someone made a check inexperienced American leader, going to a sharp escalation of fighting and trying to figure out what his real attitude to the war, which goes in the industrial center of Ukraine for the past three years.
On January 28 only on the Ukrainian side at least 26 people were killed and 124 were injured. A month before a phone call by the loss amounted to eight men killed and 46 wounded.
The self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s Republic declares that in 2017 on its territory killed 40 people.
In places like the agricultural village of Sartana, near the Ukrainian-held an important port city of Mariupol, the latest escalation reiterated like hell the first days of the conflict. By day, the situation tolerable, fairly quiet, but after sunset the fighting aktiviziruyutsya. “People just started to forget what the fear of attacks. But last month all over again rattled, and even in the city centre,” says the journalist from Mariupol Yulia Didenko.
Since joining trump in the position of President of the United States was written thousands of articles and millions of tweets about his alleged ties with Russia and Putin. But the growth of violence in Ukraine and the parallel battle for political power in the capital Kiev resumed with renewed vigor after the us elections, convincingly show how new relationships work in practice.
In troubled places around the world from the Middle East and the Balkans to the South China sea States don’t know what geopolitical rules apply today, when the White house came trump and his inexperienced team. There is a desire and need to understand how the new President will respond to crises in different regions of the world.
This uncertainty is particularly strong in Ukraine, which seriously alarmed made by trump before and after the election stating that he wants to improve relations with Russia. During the election campaign, trump has hinted that it may ease sanctions imposed on Putin’s inner circle in connection with events in Ukraine. He also talked about the possibility of recognition of the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, carried out in 2014.
The Ukrainian government believes that there is a direct link between your phone conversations trump and Putin on 28 January and the subsequent intensification of hostilities.
“I think it’s a very good tool for the Russian side: first, to talk to the President on the phone, and then show that you are at any moment can start the fighting, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs Vadym Prystayko, sitting in his Kiev office in the building of the Ministry. — Vladimir very kindly spoke with trump, but at the same time increased the degree of tension and has shown that he is quite serious.”
But locals tell a different version of events in Sartana, the center of which on 3 February had been shot “Grad”. Three residents of the village who spoke with a reporter for the Globe and Mail, including those whose homes were damaged by rockets the separatists, said they heard a continuous fire of tanks and artillery from the Ukrainian side, after which the separatists returned fire.
“Everything was quiet, quiet, quietly, and then they started to shoot from there to here. Then the other side responded,” says Zharikova, working as a cook.
Her neighbor Yuri Fedorov tells a similar story. When his court February 3 missile landed in the house flew all the Windows.
“There flew 20-25 shells, after which the patience [the separatists] is exhausted, and they began to shoot back,” says 60-year-old Anatoly Ksenofontov, worked as a watchman at the local cemetery Sartan and living there in a hut.
The same reports are coming from the city of Avdiivka, which is located to the North of the capital of the separatists of Donetsk is controlled by Ukrainian troops. In recent fights he has suffered the most. When the plant was stopped the supply of electricity and water, and the number of dead started to rise, and Western countries have accused Russia of what happened. But some media reported that the Ukrainian party first sent troops into no man’s land in the zone of differentiation, triggering fierce response of the separatists.
Alexander hug head of the mission of the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe, which monitors violations signed two years ago the Minsk agreements on cease-fire. According to him, it is almost impossible to prove who fired first during the shelling of Sartana and during the more violent fighting around the Town. The inhabitants of Sartana heard what I heard, but they don’t know that February 3, was fired Ukrainian army, and why. Maybe that fire that I heard Zharikova and its neighbors, were sent to the division of the separatists of violating the truce.
One thing is clear, says hug. The number of violations of the ceasefire regime in the Donbass in the past two months, rose sharply, especially after January 28.
The task of the hug is to give unbiased reports about what is happening along the front lines, and he is no relations does not hold. However, the statistics definitely indicates that when Americans elected a President who wants to improve relations with Russia, the Minsk agreement that has not been the best, being signed under pressure, quickly began to disintegrate.
“We can clearly see, and I can confirm it is a fact that the parties in the last two months regularly violated its obligations under the Minsk agreements,” hug said in a telephone interview from the Belarusian capital, where he participated in another round of negotiations leading to a new ceasefire. The agreement was to come into force on Monday, but was immediately broken.
According to hug, the hand in last weeks move heavy weapons closer to the front line, which is “an escalation of the conflict, which is difficult to control.”
Intensification of fighting in Avdeevka and Sartana caused the first reaction from the administration trump on the Ukrainian conflict.
“Unfortunately, during his first speech in this chamber I am forced to condemn the aggressive actions of Russia, — said on 2 February immediately after the outbreak of hostilities in the town and a few hours before the shelling of Sartana, a representative of the trump Organization United Nations Nikki Haley. We really want to improve our relations with Russia. However, the difficult situation in the East of Ukraine requires us to clearly and forcefully condemn the actions of Russia”.
However, trump, giving a 6 February interview with Fox News, didn’t speak so directly and frankly. Separatists, he did not call Pro-Russian forces, indicating that Moscow does not always control them (what the Kremlin says regularly).
“We don’t know, maybe they are freaking out? Maybe they unmanaged? This also happens. We’ll find out. Maybe we will be surprised, but we need to find out”.
Even more revealing were complaints trump the people on Twitter that he made 142 times since, as in the Donbass, 28 Jan fighting broke out. None of these tweets there is no word “Ukraine”.
On the newest history of Ukraine you can see in two ways. Or, a country fighting for independence from the Kremlin, causing angry reactions from the Russian army, or it is a close relative of Russia, which force the tear from her meddlesome Western countries.
Most Western politicians — and the majority of Ukrainians — in the course of only the first version of events. Second, they completely dismiss, calling it outrageous propaganda. The Kremlin, meanwhile, is promoting a second version, using its numerous media and associated with the Russian government accounts on Twitter.
Depending on which version of events you believe, it will be your opinion on the events of 2014. In the first version it was a revolution that overthrew Pro-Moscow President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, is the glorious example of democracy. And secondly — the CIA supported a coup d’etat carried out in order to put on a post of the President of the Pro-Western Petro Poroshenko. On this basis also the impression about the Russian seizure of Crimea, Western sanctions against Putin’s entourage, and about the war going in the South-East of the country.
During the election campaign, trump has shown that he believes in the second version of events, or at least willing to listen to her. He surrounded himself with individuals who were spreading the Russian point of view. First, it was General Michael Flynn, a stranger to the U.S. intelligence community. Before Flynn for a short time became the national security adviser, it was very ambiguous ties with the Kremlin news channel RT.
Flynn was sacked on 13 February that he lied to the Vice-President Mike Pence about the nature of their contacts with the Russian Ambassador in Washington.
But first and foremost surprise in Kiev was the fact that trump last year made the head of its election headquarters Paul Manafort.
In Ukraine, Manafort has received notoriety as a political puppeteer who saved the career of Yanukovych, the disgraced involvement in election fraud in 2004. Thanks to this American ex-petty criminal Yanukovych in 2010, regained the presidency.
Incredible climbing Yanukovych put an end to the peaceful “orange revolution” in 2004 and brought Ukraine back into the Kremlin’s orbit. It lasted until 2014, when the open worship of Yanukovych to Moscow caused the second, this time a violent uprising.
Subsequently, Manafort helped to save and unite the remnant of Pro-Russian political forces in Ukraine. He rebranded the Party of regions of Yanukovich, giving her the simple name of the Opposition bloc in an attempt to broaden its support base, and including in the new political organization of all those who are disappointed in the new course of the country.
“He was sitting right here, said during an interview with the leader of the Opposition bloc Yuriy Boyko, pointing to the empty chair in the conference room of his party, whose headquarters is located in the center of Kiev. He was responsible for the creation of our party.”
According to the native of Donetsk Boyko, who under Yanukovych was energy Minister and then Deputy Prime Minister, his work in the Opposition bloc Manafort continued in 2015, having left the Ukraine to lead the staff of trump. Boyko smiles, hearing the question, does today Manafort tips Trump about Ukraine and Russia.
“It would be good because Manafort knows the reality. In Ukraine, it is configured completely positive and practical. He’s a good professional. He sees the whole picture”.
The fact that the Opposition bloc hopes to strengthen its position and chances of the future in the administration of trump, it became clear in that moment, when two members of Parliament from this party were seen 2 February at the National prayer Breakfast in Washington, where trump gave a rambling speech. “They had a meeting with representatives of the new administration,” said Boyko, who declined to identify the participants in these meetings. (Another political opponent of Poroshenko, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, has surpassed the Opposition bloc, as during Breakfast she had a brief conversation with trump one by one.)
But the majority of Ukrainians believes that Manafort consistently serves the interests of Russia. His work at the headquarters trump convinced the Ukrainian government that they need to intervene in U.S. elections.
Russia publicly accused that she carried out the hacking hacking email and spread disinformation to help Trump. Ukraine has made an effort (unsuccessfully) to help win as the democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Presumably, someone in the Ukrainian government helped with the leaks, which shed light on the relationship of Manafort with Russia. In particular, we are talking about the publication of accounting records, where written in detail about 12.7 million dollars, allegedly received Manafort from the Party of regions. The Ukrainian authorities in August last year began an investigation into these payments, which contributed to the resignation of Manafort from the post of chief of staff of the trump.
Eloquent Minister of internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov has clearly stated the position of Ukraine in their posts on Facebook and Twitter, calling trump “a clown”, which is “dangerous for Ukraine and the United States.”
These steps can have long-lasting consequences for the relations of the administration of the tramp with Ukraine. Trump expressed his displeasure in September, refusing to meet with Poroshenko on the sidelines of the meeting of the UN General Assembly in new York, citing a busy schedule. (Clinton had no difficulty in finding time for the Ukrainian President.)
Victory trump diminished the Ukrainians wish to pursue Manafort in criminal proceedings. The investigation went neither good, nor bad, as Manafort was again potentially a key figure for Ukraine’s future. Recently, the New York Times reported that Manafort helped propel a very controversial peace plan for Ukraine, which today circulates in the environment trump.
This peace deal stipulates that Ukraine losing the Crimea is leased by Russia for 50 or 100 years, and in response Russia withdraws its troops from the Donbass. These proposals condemned as Kiev, insisting on the return of the Crimea and Moscow, which denies that she has in the Donbas have any troops. However, the assumption that Manafort develops to trump any ideas on Ukraine and its President, did nothing to calm nerves in Kiev.
(On Wednesday we learned the details of another peace plan, drafted by Yanukovych. He proposed to hold in Ukraine a referendum on granting broad autonomy to the separatist-held regions.)
“The biggest concern is the fact that the United States will simply ignore Ukrainian aspirations and interests that the new us administration will offer President Putin a signal: consider Ukraine as their backyard and do there whatever you want,” says Alyona Getmanchuk, working Director of the Kiev analytical Institute for international policy, developing foreign policy recommendations for the Ukrainian authorities.
None of the discussed peace plans no politically acceptable formula to Kiev, where there are strong feelings of militant nationalism. According to Getmanchuk, even in the Minsk Pact is flawed, as there is no road map that specifies the sequence of action. The Ukrainian side says that he was waiting for Russia to stop supporting separatists, and only then to take the amendments to the Constitution that will give Donbass more autonomy. The separatists, meanwhile, argue that they are forced to continue fighting, as the government in Kiev, its part of the transaction to execute.
Getmanchuk said that Poroshenko can very quickly be out of business if he would sign an agreement on Crimea and Donbass at the expense of Ukrainian sovereignty. “In the Ukrainian society’s attitude to compromises very negative. They are associated with the surrender of Ukraine to Russia,” she says.
Because numerous attempts to achieve peace apparently doomed to failure, on the horizon loomed the ominous outlines of a new, larger war. Poroshenko last week warned that “the threat of full-scale aggression from Russia has not disappeared.”
February 18, Putin turned up the pressure, announcing that Russia will recognize the passports and other documents issued by the self-proclaimed “people’s republics” in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Ukraine pristayko said about the current government concern about the fact that Russia could exploit the inconsistency and incoherence of Washington’s actions to advance even further into the Ukrainian territory.
“We understand how this happens in our part of the world. The only thing Putin respects is force equal to his own, said Pristayko, adding that any easing of U.S. sanctions will be regarded in Moscow as a sign of US weakness. — Putin is the man who happily grabs any opportunity. So he seized Crimea.”