The Usefulness of a Ceasefire

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - German foreign policy makers are proposing that tougher sanctions against Russia be discussed. In light of the escalating combat in Eastern Ukraine, we "unfortunately have to discuss tougher sanctions," declared several representatives of the German political establishment's transatlantic fraction. Berlin accuses the insurgents in Eastern Ukraine, and even Moscow of escalating the conflict. The escalation in Donetsk and Mariupol, however, followed the Kiev government's decision to launch another wave of mobilization and arms buildup, which, according to observers, could be the prelude to a major military offensive. Kiev has also launched a long-term militarization of the country: Adolescents, and even children, will not only have to undergo a "national patriotic education" in school, but also learn "how to use rifles and Kalashnikovs." Just a few days ago, the EU parliament passed a resolution to supply "defensive weapons" to Ukraine. Berlin had already authorized such supplies last year. Brussels is preparing a comprehensive propaganda campaign to accompany the escalation of the conflict.

Sanctions on the Agenda

Several foreign policy makers of the German political establishment's transatlantic fraction are proposing that tougher sanctions against Russia be discussed, because of the renewed escalation of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, particularly the shelling of the port city Mariupol. Without hesitation or explanation, they blame Russia for the escalation. Brussels should "react to the Kremlin's current escalation policy," declared Omid Nouripour, foreign policy spokesperson for the Green Party in the Bundestag. New sanctions should therefore be taken into consideration.[1] Russia is "the warmonger in the region, because it supplies the separatists with heavy weapons, logistics and fuel," the CDU's foreign policy maker Karl-Georg Wellmann is quoted saying: "If the Russian government cannot show verifiable progress in de-escalating the situation," we will "unfortunately have to discuss tougher sanctions." According to the CDU's foreign policy maker Elisabeth Motschmann, "the EU must again tackle the issue of sanctions."

Prelude to an Offensive

The current escalation followed the Kiev government's decision to launch another wave of mobilization and arms buildup. President Petro Poroshenko had announced the government's intention to recruit 50,000 conscripts between the ages of 16 and 60. They will receive three weeks of training and then be ordered to the frontlines of the civil war.[2] Another 50,000 men will be recruited a few months later into the army, announced Poroshenko. He also officially handed new military equipment, including assault rifles, howitzers, armored vehicles, and fighter jets, over to the Ukrainian armed forces, declaring, "this is how we are using this so-called ceasefire."[3] Due also to this large-scale arms buildup, observers assume that Kiev is planning a major military offensive. The current escalation followed the shelling of a bus in Donetsk, killing 13 civilians and the shelling Mariupol, causing at least the 30 civilian deaths. The responsibility of these attacks has yet to be established. Eastern Ukrainian insurgents and Kiev are blaming each other.

"Defensive Arms" and "Training Missions"

Ukraine knows that it can rely on European and North American supply of so-called non-lethal - but militarily indispensible - equipment in its arms build-up. The deliveries of this equipment have been the subject of several reports. In September 2014, Berlin had confirmed that the verification of diverse applications for delivering military "protective equipment" has already been "concluded with positive results."[4] Recently the European Parliament recommended that the EU "examine possibilities ... for supporting the Ukrainian government in the upgrading of its defense capabilities and protection of the country's external borders."[5] This is possible, since the EU Council has "lifted the arms embargo on Ukraine July 16, 2014." "Objections or legal limitations for member states to deliver defensive arms to Ukraine" are therefore non-existent. The European Parliament "supports" explicitly "the current delivery of non-lethal pieces of equipment." According to the resolution, the EU must also carry out "training missions" for the Ukrainian armed forces.

Orwell's Approach

Ukraine's arms buildup is supposed to be accompanied by elaborate PR measures. As stipulated by the parliament, the EU Commission must establish "a communication strategy within the next two months" to counter Russian "propaganda" both, at the "EU level, as well as within individual EU member countries."[6] Kiev is already a step ahead. With the same justification, Kiev has established a "Ministry of Information," which has drawn sharp criticism around the world. The new Minister, Yuriy Stets, had previously served as director of President Poroshenko's private "Channel 5" TV station for ten years.

National Patriotic Education

Supplementary to its arms buildup and full-scale mobilization, the regime in Kiev has begun to take steps toward the country's long-term militarization. Its measures are raising eyebrows, even in major German media organs, which usually are supportive of the new Ukrainian rulers. They reported that particularly Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is a "passionate defender of an intensification of 'national patriotic education' in school curriculums." For example, he is campaigning for History courses placing "the accent on the constant defiance of the Ukrainian nation - from the Cossacks to the 'Ukrainian Insurgent Army' (UPA)."[7] The latter fought against the Soviet Red Army in World War II on the side of Nazi Germany, committing massacres of more than 91,000 mainly Polish speaking and of the Jewish faith.[8]

Kalashnikovs in Schools

The "new Guidelines for the People's Education," which Yatsenyuk has "put up for debate," stipulates that "under the heading 'Homeland Security,' high school seniors should receive comprehensive training in how to handle arms." Adolescents should "learn how to use rifles and the Kalashnikov." The training will include the "use of gas masks, hand grenades, and instruction in various types of landmines." Private militarist associations have already begun running "recreation camps," where "Ukrainian girls and boys (...) have target practice and train in martial arts." "Yulia Tymoshenko's webpage even depicts elementary school children, dressed in Ukrainian military uniforms, as her party's contribution to boost the national fighting spirit." "Weapons training for youth" will "also be offered at military installations."[9] Until Russia took over, this was allegedly also the norm in the Crimea.

Billions in Credits

Whereas Kiev is continuing with the country's militarization, and - even though it has been teetering on the edge of national bankruptcy - has raised its military budget to 5.2 percent of its GNP (approx. 4.8 billion Euros),[10] Berlin and the EU are supporting the pro-western Ukrainian regime not only politically, but also financially. After Berlin recently gave assurances of a half billion Euros in credit guarantees, the EU Commission agreed to also provide a loan of nearly two billion Euros. Criticism of Kiev's dramatic increase in the military budget and the country's overall militarization is yet to be heard.


While consensus reigns in Berlin on the question of support for Kiev's war hawks, dissension is becoming apparent on the question of further sanctions on Russia. Important forces now believe that Germany should again begin to cooperate with a weakened Russia, to be able once again to reap economic benefit from this cooperation. The establishment of a pro-Western regime in Kiev and its rudimentary stabilization should, for the time being, be geostrategic advantage enough from this conflict. It is neither necessary nor desirable to destabilize Moscow completely.

Other reports and background information on Germany's policy toward Ukraine can be found here: The Crimean Conflict, The Kiev Escalation Strategy, Cold War Images, The Free World, A Fatal Taboo Violation, The Europeanization of Ukraine, Official Government Vocative, An Unusual Mission, "Scientific Nationalists", Crisis of Legitimacy, "Fascist Freedom Fighters", The Restoration of the Oligarchs (IV), For Peace and Freedom, The Finnish Model, Second-Class Stakeholders, Establish Facts, Ukrainian Patriots, Ukrainian Maneuvers, A Lesson Learned, Under Tutelage, Nationalist Upsurge and Out of Control.

[1] Ukraine ruft nach Raketenangriff auf Mariupol Staatstrauer aus. 25.01.2015.
[2] Michael Stürmer: Poroschenko rekrutiert nur Kanonenfutter. 20.01.2015.
[3] See Out of Control.
[4] Berlin bestätigt Hilfen für ukrainisches Militär. 03.09.2014.
[5], [6] Entschließung des Europäischen Parlaments vom 15. Januar 2015 zur Lage in der Ukraine. 2014/2965(RSP).
[7] Joseph Croitoru: Die Ukraine wird sowjetisch - von innen. 24.01.2015.
[8] See "Scientific Nationalists".
[9] Joseph Croitoru: Die Ukraine wird sowjetisch - von innen. 24.01.2015.
[10] Klaus Joachim Herrmann: Rückzug der Aufständischen angeboten. 22.01.2015.