Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 09, 2022

'Minsk II Was Agreed On To Arm Ukraine' - Did Merkel Really Say That?

Helmholtz Smith, Andrew Korybko and Andrei Martyanov have some thoughts about a recent interview the former German chancellor Angela Merkel gave to the German weekly broadsheet Die Zeit.

Smith says it shows that the 'West' is not trustworthy. Korybko thinks the interview will prolong the conflict in Ukraine. Martyanov says that Merkel is stupid. She isn't.

In the interview Merkel seems to claim that the Minsk agreements between the Ukrainian government and the Donbas region, which she negotiated and co-signed as guarantor, was never meant to be fulfilled. It was only meant to give time to build up the Ukrainian military.

I however think that such an interpretation is wrong. Merkel is under very harsh critique not only in the U.S. but also in her own conservative party. She is now out to justify her previous decisions as well as the current bad outcome in Ukraine. My hunch is that she is making things up. Unfortunately she also creates serious damage.

The relevant passage of the interview is longer than the one paragraph Helmholtz Smith and other cite. The context is important. Here is my translation of it:

ZEIT: Do you ask yourself if the years of relative calm were also years of omissions and if you were not only a crisis manager, but also partly the cause of crises?

Merkel: I would not be a political person if I did not deal with that. [...some stuff about climate action ...] Let us look at my policy towards Russia and Ukraine. I come to the conclusion that I made the decisions I made back then in a way that I can understand today. It was an attempt to prevent just such a war. The fact that this was not successful does not mean that the attempts were wrong.

I think the above is genuine. The Minsk agreements were a serious attempt to prevent war by reintegrating Donbas into a federalized Ukraine.

However, the Ukrainian president Poroshenko did not have the will and the political backing to fulfill the agreement. There was no chance that, under him, a federalization law would pass the Ukrainian parliament. Moreover the U.S., the only party who could have really pressured him, told him not to follow up on the agreement. But then came Zelensky who was elected by a large majority on the promise to fulfill Minsk II. He even made attempts to do that. But he soon found out that his own life was in serious danger if he continued to try. There was also U.S. pressure as it which did not want Minsk fulfilled. Merkel however can not say that out loud. By late 2019 she must have recognized that Minsk II was blocked forever. It was a serious defeat for her but there was nothing she could do about it.

She therefore now comes up, ex post, with a Chamberlain excuse. The 1938 Munich agreement Chamberlain signed prevented Germany from immediately going to war and gave the UK and others time to arm up. The Minsk agreement, Merkel claims now, bought time for Ukraine to get its military into better conditions:

ZEIT: But one can still find it plausible how one acted in earlier circumstances and today, in view of the results, consider it wrong.

Merkel: But that also requires you to say what exactly the alternatives were at the time. I thought the initiation of NATO accession for Ukraine and Georgia discussed in 2008 was wrong. The countries neither had the necessary prerequisites for this, nor had the consequences of such a decision been fully considered, both with regard to Russia's actions against Georgia and Ukraine and to NATO and its rules of assistance. And the 2014 Minsk agreement was an attempt to give Ukraine time.

(ZEIT Editor Note: The Minsk Agreement is a set of agreements for the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which under Russian influence broke away from Ukraine . The aim was to gain time with a ceasefire in order to later come to a peace between Russia and Ukraine.)

It also used this time to get stronger, as you can see today. The Ukraine of 2014/15 is not the Ukraine of today. As you saw in the battle for Debaltseve (railway town in Donbass, Donetsk Oblast, ed.) in early 2015, Putin could easily have overrun them at the time. And I very much doubt that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they do now to help Ukraine.

ZEIT: In your first public appearance after the end of your chancellorship, you said that you had already recognized in 2007 how Putin thinks about Europe and that the only language he understands is harshness. If this realization came so early, why did you pursue an energy policy that made us so dependent on Russia?

Merkel: It was clear to all of us that the conflict was frozen, that the problem had not been solved, but that gave Ukraine valuable time. Of course, one can now ask the question: Why was the construction of Nord Stream 2 still approved in such a situation?

ZEIT: Yes, why? Especially since there was already very strong criticism of the construction of the pipeline at that time, for example from Poland and the USA.

Merkel: Yes, one could come to different opinions. What was it about? On the one hand, Ukraine attached great importance to remaining a transit country for Russian gas. It wanted to channel gas through her territory and not through the Baltic Sea. Today people sometimes act as if every Russian gas molecule was from the devil. It wasn't like that, the gas was contested. On the other hand, it was not the case that the federal government had applied for the approval of Nord Stream 2, the companies did that. Ultimately, for the federal government and for me, it was a matter of deciding whether we would make a new law as a political act to expressly refuse approval of Nord Stream 2.

ZEIT: What prevented you from doing that?

Merkel: On the one hand, such a refusal in combination with the Minsk Agreement would, in my view, have dangerously worsened the climate with Russia. On the other hand, the energy policy dependency arose because there was less gas from the Netherlands and Great Britain and limited production volumes in Norway. ...

I think that Merkel is obfuscating. Her original intent with Minsk II was not to buy time to arm Ukraine. Her intent was to prevent a further war and to make peace. The argument, that it gave time for Ukraine to arm, is only made now and only to save her political ass in the current political climate.

The proof for that is in what she also brings up, Nord Stream 2, which has always had her full support. Its intent was to make Germany independent from the pipelines through Ukraine and Poland. But war came before the much delayed pipeline was ready. And any realistic alternative for Germany's current position was gone after the U.S. finally blew it up. Her answer with regards to Nord Stream 2 makes no sense if she, at the same time that Nord Stream 2 was being built, had intentionally prepared Ukraine for war.

There is another point that makes the 'bought time' ex post argument invalid. In 2014 Russia came under quite harsh sanctions and had huge problems to reconfigure its supply chains. Russia has used the time since to prepare for even harsher sanctions and a war. Notice how few problems Russia has now after really crushing sanctions were deployed. That required preparation. In 2018 Russia introduced a number of superior strategic weapons which are now deployed. In 2014 the S-400 air defense system was only a prototype. Today all Russian air defense groups have and deploy it. Russia used the time to up its war supplies, especially artillery ammunition and missiles.

If you think the 'bought time' argument is genuine look at the situation in Russia and compare with the Ukraine and the rest of Europe. Who has used the time better? Who is now in a better position? 

The problem with Merkel's sorry and false excuse is that it creates, as Korybko points out, real damage. Everyone, including Russia's president Putin, seems to read only that one paragraph with the ex post argument, not the full context. This makes bringing the war in Ukraine to an end much more difficult.

Putin now says he had believed in Merkel's seriousness about Minsk. He is now deeply disappointed. Who can he talk to about peace when everyone one on the other side is non-agreement capable?

AZ 🛰🌏🌍🌎 @AZgeopolitics - 15:41 UTC · 9 Dec 2022

🇩🇪🇺🇦🇷🇺 Putin – about Merkel's words about cheating with the Minsk agreements:"To be honest, it was absolutely unexpected for me. It's disappointing. Trust almost dropped to 0. How to negotiate? About what? And is it possible to negotiate with them? Where are the guarantees? "

Video with English subs


I hope that Putin will still read the interview in its full context and change his mind.

Was it Merkel's intent to undermine trust? I don't know. Why would she?

For the record: I have disliked most of Merkel's  policies. I never voted for her or for any of the parties which supported her governments. But she wasn't a bad politician and I did respect her. That respect is now gone.

Posted by b on December 9, 2022 at 17:41 UTC | Permalink

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She's no Chamberlain, he kept silence, even though he knew he's be marked as a coward and fool for eternity

Posted by: TootingBoy | Dec 9 2022 17:54 utc | 1

As I noted in my comments and article, Die Zeit lied about the nature of the Minsk Agreements--they were codified as UNSCR 2022--International Law--and as such were required to be implemented. France as a permanent UNSC member has a duty to do that. Germany as a UN member is also obligated to see it enforced. Then there's the #1 Henchman in the affair, Barak Obama, who clearly refused to do what he was required to do. And we also have the Nuremburg Protocols to consider. Genocide was being committed in Donbass because 2022 wasn't being implemented and instead was being wantonly violated, and NATO was providing the means for those violations and thus the Genocide.

IMO, there's zero defense for any Western "leader" in this affair--they are all criminals to the nth degree ranking with the worst Nazis. Unfortunately, it's unlikely any of those criminals will sit in the defendant's box in a courtroom.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2022 18:00 utc | 2

At the very least, there was no real attempt on Germany's part to get Ukraine to comply with Minsk 2. In that regard, Putin is absolutely correct in his latest assessment, no matter what Merkel said/meant in her latest interview. Also, it's absurd to think that Putin did not read the entire interview before commenting. This is a man known for his attention to detail. As President
Of Russia,he's not going to go off and give a knee-jerk assessment on such an issue.

Posted by: Woogs | Dec 9 2022 18:03 utc | 3

The fact that Russia was re-orientating its economy and arming up seriously post 2014/5 shows they knew war with the West was inevitable. So, no, Putin wasn't fooled by the Minsk charade. He is correct to state he was disappointed with Merkel, but he knew the context. If Merkel did not appreciate that the US was determined on conflict with Russia, then YES she truly is a fool. If she did appreciate, then she was being disingenuous at the time.

Posted by: cdvision | Dec 9 2022 18:04 utc | 4

Sorry B but you`re wrong on this. Karlofi is right. They walked away from their obligations, all of them. They are the reasons we are where we are today, shame on them. Much love from France x

Posted by: extremebuilder | Dec 9 2022 18:05 utc | 5

I think that Merkel is obfuscating. Her original intent with Minsk II was not to buy time to arm Ukraine. Her intent was to prevent a further war and to make peace. The argument, that it gave time for Ukraine to arm, is only made now and only to save her political ass in the current political climate.
I have been thinking exactly this the last few days when the interview with Merkel came up. Interesting so see it essentially confirmed.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 9 2022 18:06 utc | 6

"I hope that Putin will still read the interview in its full context and change his mind."

You are correct that the context matters, but when it comes to negotiating with NATO in 2022 I don't know that it should alter Putin's conclusions. The US/NATO are completely agreement incapable, and based on the previous 20 years we know that the NATO will only use concessions as leverage in the future. Just look what happened to Gaddafi or Saddam when they gave up their nuclear ambitions. Did Assad getting rid of his chemical weapons make the US reduce their backing of jihadists? Do you really trust Zelensky and NATO to abide by any agreement where they limit their military capabilities?

Posted by: TM1798 | Dec 9 2022 18:06 utc | 7

Much is made of Chamberlain's "Peace in Our Time" agreement. Few seem to know that Churchill approved the agreement.

Posted by: S Brennan | Dec 9 2022 18:09 utc | 8

Merkel was just another puppet, maybe on a somewhat longer leash from the USA. Push her off into her sunset, and lets focus on reality today.

Posted by: JustTruth | Dec 9 2022 18:12 utc | 9

Merkel must see something on the horizon that prompted her to talk now.

Posted by: chunga | Dec 9 2022 18:14 utc | 10

Korybko says:

"With her so brazenly admitting to betraying his trust by boasting that “Putin could easily have overrun [Ukraine] at the time” had she not played along with the Minsk peace process and thus got him to hold off on this almost a full decade, it’s unlikely that the Russian leader will ever trust anyone in the West again."

It is incomprehensible that anyone of even subnormal intelligence- let alone a national leader - should be stupid enough to believe any Western leader about anything,  after:

The loot of Russia under Yeltsin
The  expansion of NATO
The bombing of Serbia
The Western support to the Chechen insurgency
The destruction of Iraq
The egging on of Georgia to attack South Ossetia
The open support of headchopper cannibal jihadis in Syria
And of course
The criminal bombing of Libya

All of which happened before 2014.

I do not believe therefore that Putin was "fooled", unless he's incompetent to hold any kind of office, something that is obviously untrue. At the same time the same Putin threw away the easy and nationally vital opportunity to eliminate the nazi regime in Ukraine in 2014; instead he went out of his way to cripple the LDNR in their liberation campaign and stopped them even from liberating Mariupol in 2015 when the nazis were in headlong retreat. Later it came out that this was to keep Rinat Akhmetov, Azovstal owner, happy. The fact is that Russian oligarchs had and have business interests in Ukranazistan and Putin seems to have imagined that he could buy off Ukrainian oligarchs by not harming their income streams either. Rybar and other Russian commentators on Telegram made the point that Putin went out of his way to not touch the Ukranazi infrastructure that was used to convey all the weapons and reinforcements the nazi regime is given by its Western owners to the front. Those of us who questioned why Russia didn't destroy the infrastructure were either abused by Putin apologists as "trolls" or given ludicrous excuses that bridges and railways were easy to replace or repair (a friend of mine satirically referred to "Ukraine's self-regenerating railways") or that "Russia would need them to advance" (this when Russia had firmly gone into defensive positional warfare except in Lugansk and Donetsk). Only with the advent of Surovikin is the Ukranazi infrastructure being targeted. It seems that the sensibilities of the oligarchs is only now no longer paramount in the planning.

Martyanov, who is and remains a despicable blowhard incapable of tolerating any dissenting viewpoint, has this to slobber:

“Now, one-cell armchair “strategists”, primarily people who read at best RT, begin to talk about how Putin was duped.“

And yet his 5D chess playing deity Putin himself is admitting he was fooled.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Dec 9 2022 18:17 utc | 11

karlofi is right, except that he is attributing to Macron and Merkel powers that they never enjoyed: once the decision had been taken in Washington to work against the UNSC backed agreement the matter was decided.
In Kiev the democratic option- putting the idea of Federalisation before the people, with whom it was generally popular- was vetoed by the tiny minority of fascists, representing less than 5% of the voters, who had the power to decide because they were backed by Washington and, in every possible way, encouraged by Ottawa.
The guilty parties here are the Nazi sympathising north Americans, without their malign influence there would be peace in Europe today, and the world would be set on a new and better course. Which explains their actions: Trudeau in Canada is bad enough but his predecessor, in power until November 2015, made him look like a democrat.
It is no coincidence that NATO's warmongers in chief live an ocean's distance away from the battlefields on central Europe. The wonder is that those most threatened make noo objection to having their lives and those of their families and neighbours toyed with by american politicians looking for
votes from ethnic blocs in their cities.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 9 2022 18:19 utc | 12

Agreed b

Posted by: catdog | Dec 9 2022 18:20 utc | 13

S Brennan@8
And even fewer that Chamberlain was quoting Disraeli- der alte juden- on his return from Berlin in 1878.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 9 2022 18:22 utc | 14

The plan of Minsk II was always to arm Ukraine, goad Russia into attacking, collapse the Russian government with economic sanctions, steal their foreign held assets then loot their resources like a colony. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline was approved because the intent was always to facilitate the looting of Russian gas. Merkel never intended for the Germans to pay a single Euro for gas through through those pipelines.

When Russia didn't capitulate as expected and the pipelines became a liability to their hold on power and the unity of the EU, they were blown up.

Posted by: Sid Victor Cattoni | Dec 9 2022 18:23 utc | 15

Merkel always waited to see which way the wind blew, this is no different.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 9 2022 18:23 utc | 16

Merkel's intent is not necessarily CYA or not only that. There's a silly rule I once made up that 'if there are 5 myths and you want to counter one of them, you have to confirm and reinforce the other 4'. The idea is that agreeing with generally accepted claims shows you are on the same team gives and this maintains your credibility and your credit which means you still have a voice, that you can still send out a message which will be listened to. You save your reputation but also keep a way to influence future events. Such a pragmatic tradeoff may be a bad choice but it does happen.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Dec 9 2022 18:24 utc | 17

Merkel has a history of turning around 180° on her own pronouncements. Obama was known to have tapped her phones, it was quite a - quickly buried - scandal.

I'm sure the two things are not in any way connected.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Dec 9 2022 18:28 utc | 18

Germany is a colony of empire and its (s)elected officials do what they are is the manipulated results that matter

What is happening in Europe is a Shakespearean play exposing all the perfidy and underhanded geopolitical power moves of empire.

The RoW is watching and learning how they don't want to end is a big thing everywhere in the world.

The civilization war will continue until Might-Makes-Right patriarchal empire gives up its ongoing desire for global unipolar control....the stake through the heart of global private finance is coming I am told and it can't come soon enough for me.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 9 2022 18:32 utc | 19

I'm not sure it matters. We are where we are today. And today it seems to me that Russia,has a reliable partner in China, in India, etc. But it's hard to see where they would find a reliable partner in "the international community" i.e. one that wouldn't stab it in the back as soon as conditions permitted them to do so. And of course it's not just Russia. Everyone else is watching as well. Suppose you exported coffee beans - you now know that they will form a buyers cartel against you as soon as they can. Its a new version of slavery. You can work while they enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Posted by: Guy L'Estrange | Dec 9 2022 18:32 utc | 20

Have been following MoA for years. B is usually very objective and analytical about topics, but as all humans, he has weak spots where his skills fail.

Germany and covid are two I found out so far. Just my 2c

Posted by: Abe | Dec 9 2022 18:39 utc | 21

There is a reason I placed such great trust in moa. This man's analysis was always spot on before this Russo Ukraine war.
I also thought Markel just saying this to cover her .... ehen i first herad it but it is nice to see this being proven through a through analysis. I think writer should not be worried. I think putin is playing up these types of comments to show war was the only choice to his own people( with so much loss this is definitely needed for his credibility) but putin I think knew Markel was serious in trying to implement minsk2 but she just didn't have the leverage to make it happen and didn't have the spine to push us to make it happen.
Writer lost respect but I personally respect Merkel greatly because I think she is a capable administrator and patriot.

Posted by: A.z | Dec 9 2022 18:40 utc | 22

"Her intent was to prevent a further war and to make peace."

While for 8 years they were bombing eastern cities killing civilians she was hoping for no more war ??? I bet that right after Maidan they started to arm 404 Zio-Nazi State. Heck, BND had people on the ground as well as satellite imagery to know exactly what was happening there. But during all this time she was hoping for peace ?

Comical wishes :-)

I doubt Putin was fooled. Why ? Because during those 8 yrs it was clear Minsk II was dead. The eyes on the ground and in space that the Russians have would have quickly convinced them to get ready for the worst. That Putin states he was "surprised" says nothing. He's too good of an intelligence agent to say what is exactly going on in his head or his office.

"And anyone who doubts that Merkel’s attachment to America can affect her decision-making should remember Iraq. During the run-up to the war in 2002, Gerhard Schroeder, the German chancellor at the time, gave a blanket rejection of German participation in any American “military adventures.” Schroeder’s jauntiness won cheers from the German public. But Merkel, who was then leader of the opposition in parliament, was so outraged that she felt compelled to take the biggest (and least advisable) gamble of her political career, taking to the op-ed page of the Washington Post to declare that “Schroeder Doesn’t Speak for All Germans.”"

Merkel = America Poodle

She knew what was coming and bailed out before it started.

Posted by: Tom_12 | Dec 9 2022 18:44 utc | 23

This is plain wishful thinking. So your argument is: Merkel didn't lie in 2014 when she was in government office, Merkel is lying now when she is not in office. Really?

Posted by: Vikichka | Dec 9 2022 18:45 utc | 24

Merkel comes back later and talks bullshit, what the US wanted, it was done. The EU will be destroyed, Russia has only one stable ally Iran. The 3PP has begun, Merkel is a thing of the past.

Posted by: Athanasios | Dec 9 2022 18:45 utc | 25

Re: chunga | Dec 9 2022 18:14 utc | 10

you wrote: "Merkel must see something on the horizon that prompted her to talk now."

Maybe 540,000 Russian troops preparing to launch a massive offensive? Also Putin revising the Russian no-first use policy to include hitting UR/NATO targets if Russia is convinced the US/NATO is preparing a nuclear strike against Russia. See the new interview of Colonel Douglas Macgregor for details.

Posted by: Perimetr | Dec 9 2022 18:47 utc | 26

It is clear from their conduct that the US and its right wing friends in Ukraine never intended to honor the agreement, since they never took even the slightest steps to do so. They only bought time to arm, which they did in a big way while they did nothing to live up to the peace deal.

It does not follow that Merkel or others like the French shared that cynical dishonesty. The US cheated, and as in the Iran Deal it openly, proudly lied. That does not mean that anyone else was equally dishonest. Just the US. Still is.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Dec 9 2022 18:49 utc | 27

The US (and proxy Ukraine) knew about the mutual respect and level of trust between Putin and Merkel. Which is likely why she was selected to play mediator.

Did she know she was being played is the relevant question? It appears not and that she only recognizes it now. She is trying badly to obfuscate that fact.

Did Putin know he was being played at the time? Again it appears no, but he has gone the "not agreement capable" route, an option not available to Merkel

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Dec 9 2022 18:50 utc | 28

Well if it's as you say, she lying, if she is telling the truth she is liar too, same difference, specially for Putin.

Posted by: kamehamic | Dec 9 2022 18:51 utc | 29

Posted by: Tom_12 | Dec 9 2022 18:44 utc | 23
"Because during those 8 yrs it was clear Minsk II was dead."

Could you perhaps clarify, which are the years, or time frame, in question?
Definately 8?

Posted by: Membrum Virile | Dec 9 2022 18:53 utc | 30

Norwegian @16
Agreed; it seems as word got out that she enjoyed cordial relations with VVP, her reins were yanked pretty hard. This is another example of such; all members of that elitist clique must "stay on script." (The script being of course, UKR good, RF ba-ah-ad)
I'm sure she is aware of the cost of acting otherwise.

Posted by: robjira | Dec 9 2022 19:03 utc | 31

Great post and plausible analysis of contradictory information. Merkel perhaps backed into a corner with the specific intention of discrediting her as a go-between, so far successfully.

Minsk I / II vetoed by US because they were incompatible with nazification, the white trash jihadism that is the ideological backbone of Ukraine’s transformation into an anti-Russian suicide munition.

Posted by: anon2020 | Dec 9 2022 19:04 utc | 32

putin is fluent in german. he reads as others have noted the statements & interviews of others especially particularly peer politicians very carefully, one might say with a legal eye & mind. in this instance knowing the pivotal & landmark significance of the interview, its confessions & essentially incriminating statements, i'd say putin gave it electric attention & his historic response is one he might make in a court of law or tribunal.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Dec 9 2022 19:07 utc | 33

Tooting Boy [1]

You know NO history

Chancellor of Exchequer 1925-1930 Winston Spencer-Churchill cut Defence Spending including Fortifications in Singapore

Chancellor of Exchequer 1932-1937 reversed this policy funding Radar and Merlin engines from Rolls-Royce and Shadow Factories

He died in Nov 1940 of stomach cancer and Churchill set out to cover his own culpability under Ten Year Rule by smearing Chamberlain

It worked because poorly-educated people like yourself think Chamberlain was soft when he was not and had spy planes flying over Germany taking photographs of Atlantic Wall while Churchill was being funded by Czech Government and Jewish millionaires settled his debts to stockbrokers in 1938

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Dec 9 2022 19:07 utc | 34

IMO, there's zero defense for any Western "leader" in this affair--they are all criminals to the nth degree ranking with the worst Nazis. Unfortunately, it's unlikely any of those criminals will sit in the defendant's box in a courtroom.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2022 18:00 utc | 2

Here is the actual resolution. A little light of specifics as to what any of the non-Ukrainian parties are supposed to do. Nor is there any mention of penalties if they don't. Good luck at court.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Dec 9 2022 19:08 utc | 35

"to save her political ass in the current political climate"
She is no longer in politics so this is obvious nonsense.

Posted by: Dragan | Dec 9 2022 19:10 utc | 36

The more you think about it. If Russia wasn't ready for war in 2014, then why didn't NATO crush them back then for good or at the very least took back Crimea? Unless you believe that NATO is a force of good that just wants peace? And, according to b, Merkel just wanted peace in 2014? And right now Merkel is only lying because she doesn't want to feel responsible for not having peace? .... And there you have it. Now you know who are the good guys.


Maybe Merkel is now saying the truth for a change and Ukraine and NATO prepared for this war since at least 2014. And 8 years of propaganda helped shape the minds of Ukrainians so no German soldiers fight this war today.

Posted by: Vikichka | Dec 9 2022 19:11 utc | 37

In response to Dragan@36,

Perhaps that is about to change, hence the ass-saving. Some Russian analysts interpret this interview as part of Merkel's bid to return to an active role in politics or, at the very least, boost the legitimacy of her party.

Posted by: Skiffer | Dec 9 2022 19:14 utc | 38

Posted by: emersonreturn | Dec 9 2022 19:07 utc | 33

"his historic response is one he might make in a court of law or tribunal."

Is it that late in the game already? I was thinking that only in the spring would VVP
start to seriously consider how to avoid the wrath of his compatriots.

Posted by: Membrum Virile | Dec 9 2022 19:15 utc | 39

Merkel a patriot? She was behind bringing millions and millions of muslims/africans into her country to rape and kill, and eventually take over Germany. Same as is happening all over western europe. Give me a f'n break.

Posted by: just somebody | Dec 9 2022 19:21 utc | 40

Here's what Merkel's handlers want with the immigration:

Posted by: just somebody | Dec 9 2022 19:22 utc | 41

Again, what simple analysis. Of course the West were training Ukrainians as well as trying to bring Russia west. But now Russia has chosen China, ok, so good luck with that.

Posted by: Fnord73 | Dec 9 2022 19:24 utc | 42

Tom_12 @23--

Thanks for that reminder. I'd forgotten that very important admission.

At today's presser, Putin said the ongoing com links between the special services and the Outlaw US Empire have remained open and that the prisoner exchange was Biden's proposal. So, there's actually one instance, albeit rather small, of agreement capability.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2022 19:25 utc | 43

Whether Merkel failed with Minsk II on purpose or forced by the rest of the west does not make much difference: either way Putin cannot believe any western guarantee...

Posted by: Jan49 | Dec 9 2022 19:31 utc | 44


That's because it might just be that all this is just theater, they're all on the same side pretending to be enemies. The "leaders", that is. The real leaders aren't the political class, but the banker class, the Rothschilds etc. Here's a good read about what might be actually happening:

Posted by: just somebody | Dec 9 2022 19:33 utc | 45

"The proof for that is in what she also brings up, Nord Stream 2, which has always had her full support. Its intent was to make Germany independent from the pipelines through Ukraine and Poland. But war came before the much delayed pipeline was ready. And any realistic alternative for Germany's current position was gone after the U.S. finally blew it up. Her answer with regards to Nord Stream 2 makes no sense if she, at the same time that Nord Stream 2 was build, had intentionally prepared Ukraine for war."

Correct me if I'm.
But the pipelines had been ready for quiet some time.
US coercion and German cowardice stopped the gas being pumped.

Posted by: jpc | Dec 9 2022 19:39 utc | 46

Correct me if I'm wrong B.
(An edit would be great. )

Posted by: jpc | Dec 9 2022 19:40 utc | 47

It didn't matter then, and it doesn't matter now what Germany or France or anyone in EU is thinking or doing.

When US decided to use Ukraine against RF? Already before 2014, as the main intention was to kick RF from Sevastopol and use Crimea as a major NATO base. That was the main strategic and wet dream of US and none of the other issues matter and are secondary. That dream gone, now they are dealing with its nightmares.

Merkel was led to believe that she is a factor in preventing this conflict. She wasn't. Nulands and alike did everything to go against any peaceful settlement ever since Timoshenko, and it was obvious as they were milling through and denying breathing space for EU and that went on for years.

It was combined psy-op with Scripals, RF doing this and that, UK being the lead in throwing the fog grenades around lying and plotting as disseminating the bad mood on RF and Putin.

Was RF being naive and believed the Minsks? No, but Merkel was trustworthy in the eyes of Putin for the most of her relevancy.

Was there any other way to counter this 'drang nach ost'?
Probably not, but now a window of opportunity is open for some hard decisions, predominantly on Rf side.

Should RF extend the conflict and widen it, or be autistic in what they do now? In a long run RF might double down with taking some flying ELINT NATO assets (by 'mistake', so sorry, broken missile.). It would benefit RF and probably scare off NATO in organizing deep attacks in RF and openly defy 'not-participating' in this conflict. It is tricky, but it just might work. NATO will blink as it can not really fight.

I know it looks weak and meek so far, but I am convinced that NATO will pay dearly for every drone, ship, bridge, airport, and infrastructure in RF territory they helped to damage, and they know it.

Taking Ukraine off-line would help in the meantime too, and while at it please, do not forget 1&1 TV.
That is the hornet's nest of nationalistic pathos and a pure Ukronazi propaganda machine.

Posted by: whirlX | Dec 9 2022 19:40 utc | 48

IMO she is acting like every western politician, after loosing her job, specially when the fan has spread the shit to every corner. She is simply saving her ass and her legacy. Time for German government sovereignty has gone ever since WWII any attempt to save face is meaningless and discredited. She can attempt to save face as much as she likes but serious informed people know better.

Posted by: Kooshy | Dec 9 2022 19:46 utc | 49

In response to Vikichka@37,

The more you think about it. If Russia wasn't ready for war in 2014, then why didn't NATO crush them back then for good or at the very least took back Crimea?

1. There's no level of NATO preparedness that would give them escalation dominance in Russia's back yard.
2. NATO wasn't in any position to prevent Ukrainian loss of territory then, and isn't in such a position now.
3. The Minsk agreements ruled out direct participation in the conflict by any foreign powers. Considering that adherence to Minsk was the only way for NATO to at least delay the inevitable outcome of a direct conflict as it stood then, as per 1&2, playing for time was the only option where an opportunity could present itself that would give NATO some sort of favorable outcome.

Finally, being unprepared for a serious conflict isn't the same as being a push-over. A direct low-level confrontation between NATO and Russia in 2014 would always end up damaging to everyone involved.

Posted by: Skiffer | Dec 9 2022 19:48 utc | 50

Also, here's a copy of my post in the last thread, since it's on the topic at hand and fits better here:

In response to the topic of Putin & Lavrov being conned by Merkel & the West, I believe people have a tendency of abstracting complex processes for ease of use. There's more going on here than individuals trusting the word of other individuals and more at stake than personal relations.

What we are talking about is an international framework, both with a mechanism for dispute resolution and distribution of authority, integrated into an entire complex of organizations up to the highest regulatory body of international law. However much various parties would like to ignore this system of international relations, particularly when it acts against their interests on the basis of unequal distribution of authority rather than adherence to law and agreements, it's still a mammoth that has too much riding on it and is bad news for anyone who gets in its way.

When your opponent is a system that is too big to handle, effective resistance needs a plan of action that doesn't put one in direct confrontation with the system in its entirety. In this context, any beneficial agreement utilizing integrated actors and components of that system is an achievement, even if that agreement is ultimately reneged upon. Why? Well, you either have the system working for you as intended, or you have the system or parts of the system showing themselves to be unreliable which ultimately weakens its cohesion and strengthens your ability to resist it going forward.

To sum it up, if Putin & Lavrov were actually blindsided by Merkel & the West, we should be able to pinpoint how this duplicity made their position stronger in relation to Russia. Did they gain more allies? Do they have more authority in international relations now v.s then? Did it strengthen their economies or their political position domestically? Somehow, I get the impression that the West traded some of their strongest cards in a bid to ostensibly give Ukraine a few years of life-support. Is that life-support likely to change the final outcome of the conflict? I don't see any signs of that either.

So, when it comes down to material effects, it's more accurate to say that Merkel et al were under the illusion that they tricked someone other than themselves, and the Russian leadership is content with that interpretation of events. Similarly to how they regurgitate 300 billion of frozen or confiscated reserves, while only 100 billion are available and the figure will presumably continue to drop as more assets turn out to be illiquid or straight up disappear.

Simply put, if your wallet feels lighter after having tricked someone, and your mark is there counting your money and agreeing with you, don't forget to look into the camera for comedic effect while the image of a sucker is superimposed over your face.

Posted by: Skiffer | Dec 9 2022 19:56 utc | 51

Your argument that Merkel is obfuscating (ie. lying) is based on the assumption that she could predict what would happen in the last eight years. She did not have control over the course of events in Ukraine. The path to war decided by Washington and the Nazis who dominate the Ukrainian military.

Merkel probably thought that Nord Stream 2 would be operational and therefore irreversible by the time anyone could start a war.

She didn't actually say that she "had intentionally prepared Ukraine for war". She only said that the intention was to arm it. That could have been done to give it more bargaining power, but her allies used that military strength to provoke Russia into intervening.

Posted by: Brendan | Dec 9 2022 20:01 utc | 52

Much is made of Chamberlain's "Peace in Our Time" agreement. Few seem to know that Churchill approved the agreement.
Posted by: S Brennan | Dec 9 2022 18:09 utc | 8

Chamberlain signed the "piece of paper" on Sept 29 1938. Earlier in that September:

"Germany mobilised to invade the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.[279] Churchill visited Chamberlain at Downing Street and urged him to tell Germany that Britain would declare war if the Germans invaded Czechoslovak territory; Chamberlain was not willing to do this."

Gilbert, Martin (1991). Churchill: A Life. London: Heinemann. ISBN 978-04-34291-83-0. P595

I'd be interested to know what your evidence is that "Churchill approved the agreement".

Posted by: Gt Stroller | Dec 9 2022 20:04 utc | 53

I'm convinced Merkel acted in good faith at the time and that she's now disavowing her earlier policies in an attempt to saver her own image as well as background position. The current political climate guided by mediocre kleptocrats and zealots like Ursula and Baerbock demands it. An operational NS 2 in addition to NS 1 resulting in lower pre-escallation gas prices would have meant a boost for German industry (as well as some climate goals). Gas at the moment is the cleanest reliable energy source. With nuclear we're just waiting for another Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island. The likes of Baerbock have mortgaged Europe's future to the benefit of the US empire.

b says: "I hope that Putin will still read the interview in its full context and change his mind."
Although Putin first refers to Merkel he eventually seems to refer to the acting politicians like Joseph "the garden" Borrell when he says its impossible to negotiate.

Posted by: xor | Dec 9 2022 20:04 utc | 54

I kinda agree she is just saying whatever the current buzz wants her to say, though whatever comes down, I can't imagine she'll personally remain too geopolitically relevant much (if she at all wants too).

Posted by: Re-spin | Dec 9 2022 20:04 utc | 55

Wow, this is awesome analysis! Originally, when Putin's interview came out, I had concluded Merkel dropped her statement about Minsk II to kill future relationships between Germany and Russia. I thought she was part of the anti-Europe cabal and was trying to kill Germany even harder after Nord Streams got blown up.

But with your arguments, my thesis is now in doubt.

And Putin isn't off the hook for his latest interview. Maybe he just saw a chance to further affirm the necessity of OpZ and took it. Possibly without giving Merkel the benefit of the doubt like you did, or maybe even in spite of giving it.

Posted by: rert | Dec 9 2022 20:12 utc | 56

There is a lot of talk, when the day is long.
No one can know for sure what they were thinking 8 or 10 years ago, unless they wrote it down. Diaries are often said to hold one or two surprises in store. Our big brains are up for jokes from case to case, which can sometimes turn out to be quite macabre.

Great plans consist of many options, depending on how the story goes, according to the principle: "Hope for the best, expect the worst."
And they take preparation and time ... The prerequisite was the reconstruction of the industrial potential (which had fallen prey to destruction from 86/87 onwards) - against the resistance of liberal voodoo economists and crisis profiteers ...

The story could have possibly started sooner, but another came up: Corona.
And the Russians have tried to turn world politics by means of this story. 2020 is pretty clear on that.
Well that didn't work - what's left is the big "Putin-Schwab-WEF-WHO-Corona-...-world-conspiracy" ... for idiots. ("Nato" probably belongs in there, too).

There is not much to say about Merkel, that she is a great strategic head, I don't think.
I think she "was made", and probably she is also after 45 the first (West) German political greatness who "was made in such a way".
She fit perfectly into the concept of the Zeitgeist: female, East German, academic and opportunistic to the point of unprincipledness.
And she was less "Kohl's girl", than Friede Springer's friend.
(And sometimes I thought of "sleeper", but that's probably too far-fetched).

Posted by: Humml | Dec 9 2022 20:13 utc | 57

I don’t understand anything about what’s going on here. Why bring up Merkel at all? Why the interview, which is remarkably harsh I thought, for an interview of a conservative politician and former Chancellor. Is she still a popular and influential politician in Germany? I thought Steinmeier was and he is still President, Anna give politician. Why isn’t he facing the media glare? I second Dragan @36 - Merkel has no political ass to save. But she does have a real one. Is she being threatened? This would explain Putin’s response, I agree with those above who noted it’s unlikely Putin had no idea what was going on with Merkel in 2014/15.

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Dec 9 2022 20:14 utc | 58

"Martyanov, who is and remains a despicable blowhard incapable of tolerating any dissenting viewpoint, has this to slobber:

“Now, one-cell armchair “strategists”, primarily people who read at best RT, begin to talk about how Putin was duped.“

And yet his 5D chess playing deity Putin himself is admitting he was fooled.

Biswapriya Purkayast | Dec 9 2022 18:17 utc | 11

That's an interesting comment about Martyanov. I haven't followed him for a while.
I'm pretty sure he has only a basic idea of what he is talking about, if that, as he forever tells us it's all too technical for us dummies to get it.

Posted by: David G Horsman | Dec 9 2022 20:16 utc | 59

Bring this subject up motivates to look back in time.
Here is something from a truth teller in the West from Feb 22, 2015, the Forbes Magazine.

"The Greek drama of the last week has distracted attention from a far bigger issue. The ceasefire agreed at Minsk a week ago has failed.

The Minsk agreement imposed an “immediate and full” bilateral ceasefire across the whole of Donetsk and Luhansk from 15th February. But the ceasefire was immediately breached. In fact fighting never stopped. It is a ceasefire on paper only."

"Further sanctions will hurt everyone. Russia, already heading for an economic recession and struggling with deteriorating terms of trade, will fare worse than the EU at present. But a continued standoff would be likely to push parts of the Eurozone deeper into depression – unfortunately including Greece, whose economy has shrunk by a quarter in the last five years, and Cyprus, which has patiently worked to restore its economy after the collapse of its banks in 2013. Germany, too, would be hit hard by tougher sanctions, as would the UK through its financial sector. And the US, although less directly affected, would suffer from the disruptions to trade and financial activity that sanctions cause. Sanctions are economic warfare – and wars hurt all their participants."

Now back to the World Cup ;-)

Posted by: Tom_12 | Dec 9 2022 20:17 utc | 60

The fact that Russia used its time better than the West is a nonargument: the Western élite was (is) simply unaware of how bad it is, and this fact was very clear when things got hot. When Russia announced that she was at the end of her patience, in late 2021, the combined West acted as if they had Russia in their bag, as if they could sanction Russia into oblivion, as if they could grind down Russia's resources in a proxy war, as if they could turn the whole world against Russia and make her a pariah state, as if they outsmarted Russia and already won. They got it all wrong.

There is one big hole with the idea that Frau Merkel sincerely backed the Minsk agreements: she continued to shamelessly support Ukraine even when it was clear that Ukraine was actively sabotaging the agreements. Frau Merkel was chancellor up to December 2021, when the agreements were already sunk. Germany had some leverage on Ukraine, but never used it. For example, the German government could have used the Nord Stream 2 to signal Ukraine that they were not happy with its actions, instead they caved in every single time the USA threatened to sanction the pipeline, every single time Poland and Ukraine whined about it. The first pipeline was completed in June 2021, the other one in September 2021: they were never activated in winter 2021-22, even though the gas price was up, even though NATO was holding military drills in Ukraine (rapid trident 2021), even though Ukraine was playing with fire and spitting in the face of the Minsk agreements. If the German government really thought that the Minsk agreements could bring peace to the region, that was just an intimate hope, a "wait-and-pray that everything ends well". The poor vice-admiral who dared to speak out a grain of truth was forced to resign, what should the Russians think?

That said, I think that Martyanov is oftentimes over the top, but about Frau Merkel he is right. If she really thought that the Minsk agreements were a serious thing, that was her inner wish, but she never called into question the Maidan coup, the nazification of Ukraine, the natofication of Ukraine, the obstruction by the USA, the demonization of Russia and everything that actually prevented a happy ending to the Ukrainian story. Did she hope that the Minsk agreements could bring peace to Ukraine? Probably, but she actually did nothing to that end. In 2015 or 2016, she could still sincerely think that things could get along, but since 2019, at least, it was clear to everybody that the agreements met a dead end: by then she could not think anymore that she was making peace. So either she was stupid because she could not see that the Minsk agreements were moribund for years and urgently needed life saving action (which she did not attempt), or she was stupid because she thought that she was buying time for Ukraine, when the utterly pathetic status of Western élites (politicians, businessmen, scientists, experts, opinion leaders) was just playing into the hands of Russia and China.

Posted by: SG | Dec 9 2022 20:22 utc | 61

My @58 - Anna give?? Where the heck did autocorrect come up with that. Should be “an active”. After typing Dragan @ 36, I suddenly thought is this about Kosovo? I posted a link yesterday to an interview on Canada’s BNN Bloomberg with former deputy PM John Manley, an ultimate Anglo insider. He brought up Turkey and it’s inflation problems (since the subject is who may or may not be giving or receiving threats).

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | Dec 9 2022 20:30 utc | 62

why does German bullshit smell so much more refined than American?

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Dec 9 2022 20:45 utc | 63

Totally agree, b - "I think that Merkel is obfuscating. Her original intent with Minsk II was not to buy time to arm Ukraine. Her intent was to prevent a further war and to make peace. The argument, that it gave time for Ukraine to arm, is only made now and only to save her political ass in the current political climate."

Merkel backpedaling to be some kind of champion for Ukraine (by time to arm them) sounds disingenuous at best. She was just being a politician and European politicians don't like war. At least when the U.S. isn't putting the screws to them. However untenable Minsk II, she was still being a politician trying to smooth Russia's ruffled feathers *during* Ukriane's rearming by rooting for Nordstream II despite her U.S. master's displeasure. Why would anyone find this hard to believe? She *hoped* it didn't end in a war - she was wrong.

I don't see Putin as being duped by any of this theatre. He just got Crimea back without a shot and was dealing with water and electricity (and military presence) for them. Minsk II was a breather for Russia. Not the ideal solution to anything and a deal likely to be broken, but one can always have some hope. Putin wasn't exactly sitting on his butt 'waiting' for it to work, in case anyone hasn't noticed. There is little evidence that he trusted Merkel or NATO - it was just the best alternative at the time.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Dec 9 2022 20:48 utc | 64

@Posted by: S Brennan | Dec 9 2022 18:09 utc | 8

The events of the few years prior to WW2 are extremely obfuscated, but the more I read the more I see a number of things clearly:

- The US and UK elites had little problem with fascists but a huge fear of communism and a commitment to destroy the USSR
- The US, UK and France let the Republicans in Spain be defeated by the fascists. Intervention here may have stopped the whole process toward WW2. But the mass-supported Republicans represented a threat to US, UK and French elites.
- The business elites in Germany and the UK/US were central to the ongoing survival of the Nazis and their installation into power (Hitler was not elected into power, he was appointed Chancellor by the German elites)
- The US and UK (and French) elites would have been happy for Germany to fight a full out war with the USSR, after which they could pick up the pieces
- A Soviet-French-UK alliance would have stopped the war, the French and UK elites refused to sign such a deal
- The German army would have been easily defeated in 1938 (no access yet to the large Czech munitions industries)
- During the start of the war when the German army was mostly in Poland, a French/UK full on attack would have succeeded
- The French collapsed incredibly easily in front of the German attack, and the drive to the sea could have been easily cut off by a French/UK pincer
- The French elite were happy to collaborate with the Germans in their fascist Vichy state.
- The Poles thought far too highly of themselves and overplayed their hand with Hitler (little has changed since!).
- Stalin made the best of a bad hand by pushing the start line for a German invasion of the USSR back 100s of kms.

The whole think stinks, just like the current Ukraine war. The European nations are now fully fledged vassals of the US, The US may have allied themselves with a somewhat out of control bunch of Nazi nutters and may now be finding it hard to rope them in from escalating things uncomfortably. Hence the stories coming out about arms supplies being reined back, and HIMARS being physically limited in range, in an attempt to stop things getting out of hand.

Posted by: Roger | Dec 9 2022 20:51 utc | 65

I appreciate b writing about Germany, one only wishes he would do it more often since Germany is a bit of a mystery to me -I don’t speak German- but at the same time what happens there has a big influence in the rest of Europe. There is no love lost here for Merkel, and by here I mean southern Europe. Greece was wrecked and Spain not completely but we’re saddled with a humongous national debt when it is well known German banks played with the risk differential on national debt and profited handsomely. I cannot have any respect for the leader of an important country that finds out her phone is hacked and nothing happens. Maybe she does not look too bad when compared with the current crop of German politicians but that does not absolve her.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 9 2022 20:54 utc | 66

" said that you had already recognized in 2007 how Putin thinks about Europe and that the only language he understands is harshness."

she can sprinkle the sparkle on her BS much more better than Obama, Biden, Kennedy, Clinton, etc. (like Putin and Xi...and a lot of others) but it doesn't matter what "the truth" is since she solidarizes herself w/the current agenda because she wants to keep her place in their big club. she only cares about her position.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Dec 9 2022 20:56 utc | 67

Putin told the mother's delegation he made a mistake in 2014. it is a bad thing he made such a major mistake.

Can any here imagine a Western leader admitting error, and admitting it directly to those whose sons are fighting and those whose sons have died? With no script?

Many good comments today.

Posted by: oldhippie | Dec 9 2022 20:58 utc | 68

not even all the spooks at Google could invent a machine to translate marjorie taylor green into a language merkel could understand. john bolton, kevin's like taking a big whiff from an industrial pig farm to hear a typical American politico speak. and the rest of the anglosphere is little better.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Dec 9 2022 21:02 utc | 69

As a few have mentioned, IMO the important point being ignored by most is UNSCR 2022 was never implemented at all--there was never the called-for ceasefire or withdrawal of heavy weapons demanded from Kiev--Donbass complied with that and restrained greatly in its return fire. Russia immediately spoke to the situation, but NATO was 100% mute--there was never any effort made to tell Kiev to halt and obey the UNSCR. Merkle was mute and was Macron and all the rest. Trying to say otherwise is a Big Lie. Trying to cover that Big Lie is reprehensible.

Sure, the pause worked to Russia's advantage, but UNSCR 2022 wasn't designed with the idea of giving Russia a pause in mind--it was made to stop the fighting and genocidal actions of NATO.

As Zakharova said yesterday, Merkle has no defense for her actions--she abetted Genocide pure and simple. Yes, she wasn't alone, but that fact does nothing to exonerate her from the death sentence she deserves.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2022 21:02 utc | 70

The post-game analysis of Merkel's original motives, whether they be honorable or perfidious, is irrelevant to Russia's prosecution of the SMO, and to the achievement of the absolute security she seeks on her western borders, and for her interests around the globe!

Russia's reaction to the machinations of the collective west is how a good parent deals with a small child who believes itself so smart that it can fool the parent with obvious lies!

Posted by: nudge | Dec 9 2022 21:05 utc | 71

I disgaree with you here, b. I think what that woman said in the interview was the unadulterated truth. Everyone but the Kremlin saw the charade, after a while. It was Merkel in the beginning of this mess who told Barack Obama that Vladimir Putin seemed to be living in a fairy world. Like the rest of the Atlantists, Merkel truly believed that the West could bring Russia to its kneels. The damage control she seems to be doing now is a rehearsal for excusing herself from the blames when the Ukraine's train finally crashes.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 9 2022 21:07 utc | 72

Putin's invasion of Feb 14th has put all those in Germany who seek good relations with Russia in a very awkward position - most of us had never believed he would invade. I personally lost 2 friends during this time. Hence also Merkel's recent statements - I agree.

In my view, however, Mrs. Merkel is in no need not prove her anti-Putin sentiments any further. She has proven them beyond doubt in the Navalny saga. Without any reason to get involved, she organized a "rescue mission" for Mr. Navalny who was hospitalized in Omsk, and had him transferred to a Berlin hospital. By samples taken from Navalny in Berlin, he was then "diagnosed" by 3 NATO labs as having been poisoned with "Novichok". This being almost impossible to detect after so many hours, Russia asked for the lab reports - which were never handed over by the West. The damage done to the Putin government's reputation, however, was considerable, and prepared the ground for more insults to follow, leading up to where we are today.

Mrs. Merkel should be remembered as the one who ruined our relations with Russia - for no good reason at all. Without her interference, the name Navalny would be virtually unknown today.

Posted by: grunzt | Dec 9 2022 21:08 utc | 73

I'm not convinced Merkel is retroactively trying to make her decision more palatable.

I distinctly remember Merkel and Holland desperately trying to negotiate the Minsk II agreement because the UAF were collapsing on the Debaltsevo front and the whole Ukrainian defense line was at risk of being overrun.

Sure, the Russians were able to use the time the agreement bought to reinforce themselves, but the differential in strength was reduced in favour of the UAF. Russia was economically vulnerable, but Ukraine was militarily on the brink of destruction.

Also, in february it was Russia that started the invasion. The Russian leadership was clearly convinced that any further waiting would end up favoring Ukraine and that Russia would soon lose her windows of opportunity.

I'm not saying that at the very time the agreement was being negotiated Merkel was already thinking about allowing time for Ukraine to come back. But I'm totally convinced that she rushed to negotiate that agreement in order to save Ukraine's very existence by freezing a conflict that was seeing Ukraine being badly and critically defeated by a largely local insurgencey supported by Russian intelligence and weapons.

Posted by: Leonardo | Dec 9 2022 21:08 utc | 74

so merkel agreed to minsk 2, which the west then blew up, because the only thing Russia understands is ruthlessness? (yeah, what the hell is ruth, anyway? we all know what ruthless means). and something about not having all the wonderful gas from US/UK/et al that they have now???

we have psychoanalytic categories like "projection" for a reason, right? how else to make sense of this gibberish?

who wants these people "guaranteeing the 'security' of Europe"? how could one put enough Dr Evil "scare quotes" about the shit these people say? what does any of it mean?

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Dec 9 2022 21:11 utc | 75

Merkel has always been an opportunist and an occassionalist. At the same time torn between patriotism rooted in Protestant ethics and almost unconditional loyalty to the usa, her transatlantic tendencies are very pronounced. And she is well aware of Russia's irreplaceable function for German capital. Consequently, in 2014 at the latest, she found herself in an impossible situation. On the one hand, the aggressive expansion of nato, the u.s.-american plans, on the other hand, the economic interests of the German economy.

Minsk was therefore probably both - an attempt to avoid war and its inevitable negative economic consequences, and at the same time an attempt to stall for time so that the desolate Ukrainian state could be transformed into a valid nato hub. I do not believe that this second motive is merely an afterthought, born of justification motives. Maybe she really hoped to reach a settlement at the beginning, maybe not. The most important thing for her was probably to be able to conclude her time in power without convulsions. She succeeded in doing so, resigning at exactly the right moment.

Posted by: Pnyx | Dec 9 2022 21:14 utc | 76

George Szamuely on the Gaggle , (on the basis of last night's live stream) , seemed to be taking the Schulz Putin phone conversations, (especially in the light of the Merkel revelations), particularly badly, he seemed very gloomy about things.. But perhaps that's just the way he is?

Posted by: Gabriel | Dec 9 2022 21:15 utc | 77

Du hast recht, Bernhard. Aber nicht weil sie „Frieden“ wollte, da haben deine Kritiker hier wiederum recht. Sondern weil Frankreich und Deutschland 2015 klar war, dass im Falle eines Krieges nach US-Plan Europa nichts mehr zu sagen hat. Es sind IMMER Versuche des Ausbaus des eigenen europäischen Imperialismus unter der Akzeptanz des Patronats der USA. So sind sie, diese muldenschleicherischen Europäer. Immer zum Scheitern verurteilt.

Posted by: njet | Dec 9 2022 21:15 utc | 78

Helmholtz Smith, Andrew Korybko and Andrei Martyanov did not understand Merkel because they do not know the German situation. Nor the French one.

Bernhard should understand even better that Merkel was a weak chancellor in a weak association with the French lame Président Hollande ( a 🤡)
In my opinion, Merkel is an honest politician. She now, one year after, try to deliver some keys and as always, in a discreet way for people who are willing to think ...

She did not say that her intent with Minsk II was to buy time to arm Ukraine.
She said

And the 2014 Minsk agreement was an attempt to give Ukraine time.
It also used this time to get stronger

This is even confirmed by the newspaper's note.

Merkel and Putin need time to find a peacefull path out of the Entrapment.

but NATO used this time to arm Ukraine

And Karlof1 is completely right because it was first of all France to enforce the agreement. But what to expect from a country in full social, economic and political collapse. Or from a German chancellor locked in a coalition with an SPD in ambush, ready to change sides to join the heirs of the environmentalist and anti-war movement that have become the German joint venture of the CIA and NATO.
The chancellor has tried to gain time, to preserve the balance, to keep powerful economic links.
Putin too.
But in the same time and thanks to him, Russia prepare the next step.

It is not fair to blame Merkel for the neoconservative and Straussian plan. These warmongers have come to grips with Trump and the MAGA.

In a world indifferent to the war in Syria, Yemen, Palestine or the Donbass, one must have an honest reading of events.
It's not Merkel's fault, it's ours.

Posted by: La Bastille | Dec 9 2022 21:16 utc | 79

I think regardless of what Merkel said and the interpretations of it, it has caused serious damage with Russia, it would've been better for all if Merkel had said nothing of any significance on the matter, EU/Russian relations are at a low right now, throwing fuel onto the fire doesn't help matters.

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Dec 9 2022 21:16 utc | 80

While I don't disagree that Germany didn't want a war between Russia and Ukraine, I do believe Germany wanted to use Ukraine to pester Russia, and that Merkel was not serious about brockering peace.

"But while Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say there can be no sanctions relief until Russia implements a peace deal for Ukraine agreed in 2014-2015, both see sanctions as impeding better relations with Moscow."

Merkel expects Russia to use it's influence to encourage the rebels to stick to the Minsk 2 Agreements, but totally ignores the fact that the Ukrainian side is committing most of the violations, puts no pressure on AFU, instead continued to train Ukrainian Nazis and the Ukrainian army as if nothing

Posted by: ItalianFriend | Dec 9 2022 21:17 utc | 81

and in English:

You're right, Bernard. But not because she wanted "peace", here again your critics are right. But because France and Germany were clear in 2015 that in the event of a war according to the US plan, Europe would no longer have a say. They are ALWAYS attempting to expand their own European imperialism while accepting US patronage. That's how they are, these dump-hugging Europeans. Always doomed to fail.

Posted by: njet | Dec 9 2022 21:18 utc | 82

Posted by: grunzt | Dec 9 2022 21:08 utc | 73

Without her interference, the name Navalny would be virtually unknown today.

He will be virtually unknown tomorrow, just like Nadya Savchenko of "Je suis Nadya's fever", or the punk group Pussy Riot -still waiting for their first LP- or Lazarous Babchenko that was killed by the evil Russians just to come back from the Avernus fine and dandy, or the pregnant mother from the Mariupol hospital that was a model, or the Skripals, or.... so many "Bic" heroes, use and discard. Whatever happened to the Ukrainian bimbo that witnessed the liquidation of another great semi forgoten hero, Nemtsov? Hey, how about the film maker Semtsov? One lousy film and he was up there with Kubrick and Hitchcock. Dime a dozen.

Posted by: Paco | Dec 9 2022 21:22 utc | 83

Paul Greenwood | Dec 9 2022 19:07 utc | 34


Posted by: TootingBoy | Dec 9 2022 21:24 utc | 84

And here's another aspect of UNSCR 2022 that needs to be put into the record. "Comment by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation in Ukraine". Here's the relevant segment:

"However, this approach of OHCHR to the events in Ukraine is no longer surprising. For eight years, the Office stubbornly ignored the violations by the Ukrainian side of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, including almost daily artillery shelling by its militants of settlements and civilian infrastructure of Donbass. Not once during this time did THE OHCHR call on Kiev to take measures to identify those responsible and bring them to justice for the deaths of civilians in the region as a result of the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.[My Emphasis]

So, here we have a UN agency complicit in Genocide. How do we prosecute it? Does the UNSG being the top administrator of the agency take responsibility for its (in)actions?

Clearly, there are many guilty parties to the crimes in Ukraine. As English Outsider and I discussed at Martyanov's blog, the guilt also devolves to all citizens of NATO nations according to the Nuremburg Protocols. As I wrote in reply, ignorance of the Law is no defense, although it might spare you the death penalty for abetting Genocide.

However, that issue raises other previous issues about those who initiated Aggressive War going back as far as 1945, and as Roger suggests, well before that. The RoW looks on as we in the West wrestle with our immorality and failure to do our duty as citizens to aid our fellow humans--I broke the protocols because I failed to do enough as did millions more, but how many others are willing to admit that truth? And of course, all this is true regardless Merkle's confession. I cited Bastiat in closing my reply to English Outsider and I do so again:

"When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe."

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2022 21:35 utc | 85

Regardless if Merkel was serious about Minsk or not. She and the west have handed that argument to Mr. Putin on a silver platter.

The west always assumes that itself is it's only audience because nobody else matters. But the entire world follows these things and listen to these words and arguments.

Everything Putin says about the "Empire of Lies" resonates and articles like the one cited about Merkel and Minsk are just taken as proof of Putins veracity.

Posted by: Dan Farrand | Dec 9 2022 21:41 utc | 86

So, she basically said that the united West lied, posing as peacekeepers, and in fact planned to spend billions to bring the Armed Forces of Ukraine to a combat-ready state for a serious war with Russia. Could Merkel not have arranged this celebration of unprecedented revelations? Easy. So why did she give our Foreign Ministry such a strong information pitch? Now, based on Poroshenko's confession and her statement, Russia completely absolves itself of the responsibility unfairly assigned by the Western media and diplomats for starting the bloodshed. And, what is the use of her "kaminaut", to someone else?

In fact, well, she didn't want to brag, so what?

At one time , the Chancellor's goal was to bring Germany to the forefront of the heavyweights of world politics, to join the ranks of the United States, China and Russia. The position for such a breakthrough was very interesting - the Germans were a recognized locomotive of European industry, the EU flourished and was considered almost the most premium market on the planet. However, the United States did not share its Euro-optimismand all economic power collapsed as the Americans isolated Germany from Russian resources. Washington brought down the long-occupied country "from heaven to the bottom", the dream of Angela was trampled underfoot.
Could Merkel have taken revenge on Washington in this way? A personal Angel to the entire American state machine? Unlikely.
Ah, but if she was actively supported in this supposedly soul movement by very respected people from the same city on the Potomac ( the same ones that support Tucker Carlson on a daily basis) then a different alignment.

Thus, we can assume that Angela helped Moscow, but not in order to help Moscow, but in order to help one Washington group break the game of another, opposing power group.

Why did she need this confession?
Oleg Starodubtsev

Posted by: Per/Norway | Dec 9 2022 21:47 utc | 87

I love all this talk. 'while Germany wanted this..' , 'Russia wanted that..', 'France did this..', 'UK did that..' and so on.

These entities. Russia, USA, France, Germany. Actors in a dramatic play. Totally engrossing. To where you get to believe it. Ukraine must always bear these grudges, have those motivations, Russia IS this and that, the USA will always... we cannot trust France, UK was duplicitous...

It gets thrilling and addictive. A global drama. Sucks you right in.

To where eventually you are totally immersed and you begin to follow the narrative and see things this way or that way and can see how here or there we simply have to have a war and this or that must be taken or given up... etc., etc..

And when you get there - I find when I get there at least - the actual reality, which is to say the people who live in these places - are completely forgotten, discounted, marginalised, stripped of all significance. They become not even puppets, they simply don't appear on stage.

Shadowy figures offstage engaged in bloody wars and dying by the hundreds of thousands... refugees... the destroyed and dispossessed... but actors with lines to speak on stage? No.

It's wrong. It is all wrong.

Merkle is not, was not 'Germany'. Nor is Putin 'Russia'. And Zelensky certainly is not Ukraine. And those madmen in Washington are not the USA. And so on.

To conflate - well it's not conflation, it's worse, it's total confusion I think - these people with the countries they unfortunately have power over is a big bad mistake. It's lunatic. It gives rise to lunacies. And that's what we're seeing.

I can't express my thought properly. But it seems very plain to me. How about 'the USA planned this since before 2014' ? No. The people of the USA planned nothing. That kind of thing. There's an immediate enormous obfuscation. Some few shadowy (to me at least) individuals, companies, groups, whatever, have planned these things. The 300 million Americans planned no such thing. How can the two be conflated like that? And then logical forecasts, policies, predictions made on the basis of that improper conflation?

It's like an artificial dream world has been constructed for all interested parties to live in. It's got me in. I'm living there now, too. Thrilling. But I feel it is not right.

Posted by: abrogard | Dec 9 2022 21:49 utc | 88

vote merkel, 2024!

she still wants to be counted as the wise old guard but she's not responsible for what happened under her authority?

fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, i can't feel shame anymore.

will she be viewing "lights out in Germany" from her penthouse in London or NYC? these fucking people...this whole fucking thing...quoting walter sobjak...time to go.

Posted by: rjb1.5 | Dec 9 2022 22:01 utc | 89

Whatever Merkel's motive was for saying what she said, it shows how low the western political system has sunk - when one of its top leaders would rather admit to acting in bad faith when signing an agreement than implementing it, which would have given Russia no excuse to invade.

Clearly the most important thing for western politicians is to show how militaristic they are.

Posted by: Brendan | Dec 9 2022 22:03 utc | 90

Merkel is not the first to say that the Minsk Agreements were only intended to buy time. The U.S./NATO armed and trained Ukrainian Nazis for 8 years. And the Ukraine had become a de facto member of NATO

Posted by: Cesar Jeopardy | Dec 9 2022 22:16 utc | 91

Thank you karlof1 @84
That comment is one of your best and thats saying allot.

Perhaps we should look to nature for guidance and understanding.

Ther is know doubt that the west has been 'the predator' here.
And know doubt Russia has been the prey.

The predator has to balance risk/cost of injury against pertentaul, territory ect.
I think its time for Russia as the prey, to demonstrat that rule of nature by inflicting enough pain injury on the predator west to force them to see reality and retreat.

There will not be a world without Russia.
This could then all be over by teatime.
Anounce all withdrawal of support from Uqraine.

Posted by: Mark2 | Dec 9 2022 22:23 utc | 92

Four years ago it was revealed how the USA's Central Intelligence Agency was spying on Angela Merkel and her ministers and they had their telephones tapped. The CIA had an eaves dropping center in a building near Angela's office, and they had another one in Frankfort. Angela's government took virtually no action where they could have expelled the US ambassador. It was hard to have any respect for Angela Merkle after that. I'm not sure my link is going to work.

Posted by: Chas | Dec 9 2022 22:25 utc | 93

I'm going to be the contarian here and say this war has nothing to do with Minsk, Nato, Dombas, Ukrainian nationality, Nazi or historic Russia. It has to do with getting Europe off Russia oil and gas so the EU countries will buy oil and gas from Israeli.

Its estimated israel has more oil in the Golan Heights than Saudi Arabia and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas off its shores in the Eastern Mediterranean.

2013 was the pivotal year for the implementation of this strategy, where a modest company called Genie Energy was given exclusive rights to drill the Golan, and an agreement was signed between Greece, Cyprus and Israel for joint development of the Eastern Mediterrain natural gas fields.

A look at Genie's strategic planning board shows you the international importance of this company's:

Chairman Dick Cheney since 2009 (former vice president of the United States),Members: Rupert Murdoch (media oligarch), James Woolsey (former CIA director), Larry Summers (former head US Treasury), Bill Richardson (former Governor of New Mexico, ex-ambassador to the United Nations and United States Energy Secretary), Michael Steinhardt, Jacob Rothschild, and Mary Landrieu, former United States Senator from Louisiana.

Also, Greek Prime Minister Samaras on 8 August 2013 at a meeting at the White House stated that Israel has a special role to play in supplying Europe with energy resources and supported that it can become a key energy hub.

The following year 2014 the ukraine color revolution occurred, Crimea was occupied and dombass separated from Ukraine.

In 2017 Huge pipeline deal signed by most major continental european energy actors to bring gas from the Eastern Med to Europe.

Then the US recognized the Golan Heights as part of Israel through a presidential proclamation signed by President Trump on March 25, 2019, guaranteeing Israeli sovereignty over these oil reserves.

And most recently, in June, 2022, Ursula Ursula of EU fame formally signed an agreement between the EU and Israel on energy development. The article regarding this below and note it also states this was prophesied in Deuteronomy.

An interesting article on the duplicity of US policy regarding their recognition of the Golan by Israel but not Crimea by Russia is in the following American Thinker article.

It's my best gas folks and it's oil she wrote for today.

Posted by: Jerr | Dec 9 2022 22:29 utc | 94

A very good article by Rob Urbi on CounterPunch. which has become rare these days as neo-liberals seem to have taken over CP since the Russians invasion to rescue the people of Donbass.

Just a taste:In recent history, the US could have abided by the 1991 promise made by the George H.W. Bush administration to keep NATO away from Russia’s border. The US could have negotiated a security agreement with the Russians— as they have regularly requested over the last three decades. The US could have made Ukraine abide by the Minsk Accord(s) to which the Ukrainians and Russians had in principle agreed. There have been so many requests from the Russians to negotiate a lasting peace with the US that there is no convincing argument that the US didn’t want this war.
And yet the American anti-war left continues to insist, with decades of evidence to the contrary, that German and French guardians of the oligarchs (Scholz, Macron) would / could have overridden the (Joe) Biden administration’s drive to war when, as I predicted here in 2019, Biden was brought to power by the national security state to launch a war against Russia. Biden was up to his eyeballs in the US-led coup in Ukraine in 2014, was subsequently appointed to be the American prefect in Ukraine; and began preparing for war the day he entered office.

Posted by: Ed | Dec 9 2022 22:36 utc | 95

@Chas | Dec 9 2022 22:25 utc | 92
Your naiveté elides the fact that Germany is not a sovereign entity; it has been occupied by the US since 1945 - all of 77 years!

Posted by: nudge | Dec 9 2022 22:37 utc | 96

Germany is an occupied country, so it really doesn't matter what Merkel thinks. Ask Victoria Nuland. Putin tried every avenue of international diplomacy from the EU to the UN and got nothing but double-talk and deception, while NATO built up a strike force in Ukraine to crush Donbass. Putin could not let that happen.

Posted by: paperlesstiger | Dec 9 2022 22:39 utc | 97

The real problem dates back to 1992 when President Clinton and Madeline Albright decided that rather than embrace the opportunity to have a lasting Peace and the end of the Cold War, they needed to drive a stake through Russia's heart (as if Russia were a vampire.). The first outrage was the interventions in the former Yugoslavia where the United States supported radical Islamists including Al Quida and Osama Bin Laden to impose sharia law in ethnic Slavs and ultimately ethnic cleansing. I recall having a conversation with a Colonel in the USMC who dispaired that America was on the wrong side and should really stay neutral. The 9-11 attacks were out reward. Then came the incessant NATO expansions all the way to Russia's front door. The coup in Ukraine followed by the ethic cleansing of Russians from Eastern Ukraine was the final, inexcusable provocation. Keep in mind that the Deep State Pentagon and State Department orchestrated the impeachment of President Trump because he didn't support inciting Ukraine to go to war. President Trump is the only President since the end of World War Two that didn't start a war without a formal declaration of war from Congress as the US Constitution mandates.

Posted by: Elmer Fudd | Dec 9 2022 22:40 utc | 98

«“Let us look at my policy towards Russia and Ukraine. I come to the conclusion that I made the decisions I made back then in a way that I can understand today. It was an attempt to prevent just such a war. The fact that this was not successful does not mean that the attempts were wrong.”

I think the above is genuine. The Minsk agreements were a serious attempt to prevent war by reintegrating Donbas into a federalized Ukraine. [...] I think that Merkel is obfuscating. Her original intent with Minsk II was not to buy time to arm Ukraine. Her intent was to prevent a further war and to make peace.»

Merkel's real point here is not that she negotiated hoping for peace or for buying time for continuing the war against the Donbas, but that the german government could decide either way and it mattered. She is essentially claiming that the german government is a regional power.

That is either way the whole argument is based on the fantasy that the german government has an independent foreign policy, when instead german military, foreign and security policy are under USA "steering".

Anyhow even if the german government's security, military and foreign policy were not subject to USA "steering", they would not matter, because the USA oligarchs pursued different policies, and indeed the USA government continued for 8 years to fund, train and arm the fascist ukrainian government and its fascist regiments, as they kept brutalizing the Donbas, ignoring completely the Minsk treaties when not deriding them.

«Putin now says he had believed in Merkel's seriousness about Minsk. He is now deeply disappointed. Who can he talk to about peace when everyone one on the other side is non-agreement capable?»

It seems that Putin never heard of "realpolitik".
“For ourselves, we shall not trouble you with specious pretences -- either of how we have a right to our empire because we overthrew the Mede, or are now attacking you because of wrong that you have done us -- and make a long speech which would not be believed; and in return we hope that you, instead of thinking to influence us by saying that you did not join the Lacedaemonians, although their colonists, or that you have done us no wrong, will aim at what is feasible, holding in view the real sentiments of us both; since you know as well as we do that right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”

It is pretty obvious that the USA ruling elites have not been regarding the Russian Federation as their equal in power (while they are rather more worried about the People's Republic of China).

Posted by: Blissex | Dec 9 2022 22:42 utc | 99

poroshenko said it first, a while ago. i believe it. perhaps they left merkel out of the loop.

hard to find a link to it.

Posted by: polarbear4 | Dec 9 2022 22:43 utc | 100

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