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 Putin's rhetoric indicates end of Minsk accords, - The American Interest

The recent escalation in the Donbas as well as allegations about "Ukrainian saboteurs" in occupied Crimea are used by Russian President Putin as tokens of his ambitions.

Censor.NET reports citing an article by Damir Marusic published in The American Interest, where he recalls that the Russian president has once again hinted at the questionable "legitimacy" of the Ukrainian government and refused to participate in the upcoming Normandy Four meeting.

The author draws some conclusions. Firstly, Putin, no fan of Ukraine's democratically elected government, is particularly truculent in denouncing its legitimacy. He came back twice to the illegality of the power seizure, referring to Maidan's overthrow of Yanukovych in 2014.

Secondly, the remarks aren't addressed to the Ukrainian people. Instead, they are addressed to the West. It's an easy point to miss at first listen, but Putin in particular addressed Washington and Brussels as those who support Kyiv, asking them to force it into a peace plan.

Read more: Situation in Crimea looks ominous, three scenarios possible, - The Guardian

"In calling the continuation of the Normandy Format talks "senseless", Putin appears to be telling the West that Minsk 2 is dead. This is, of course, stating the obvious. As written, Minsk 2 had zero chance of being implemented: there weren't the votes in the Ukrainian parliament to pass the contentious "decentralization" laws granting the rebels autonomy, and Russia had no intention of giving up control over its border crossings with the Donbas.

"Putin's opening demand for negotiating whatever comes next appears to be "Kyiv cannot be at the table". In this context, it's important to keep in mind that the United States and Russia have had a "channel" open for some time now between Putin's advisor Vladislav Surkov and Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland. Nothing substantive has leaked about those talks, but most observers assume that Minsk 2 has been one of the main topics at their meetings," the author concludes.

Read more: Defense Intelligence on Crimean provocation: There was a shootout between Russian military and FSB border guards

As previously reported, the situation on the administrative border with the peninsula turned critical early in the morning of Aug. 7. Since that moment, the occupation authorities have repeatedly altered the access mode at three checkpoints, either closing them or resuming their work in full or partially.

A number of Crimean media reported the introduction of Krepost (Fortress) plan aimed at tracking down five camo-clad persons. Eyewitnesses mention checkpoints set up on the main roads with the traffic police and OMON fighters stopping buses and checking passengers. At 4:30 a.m., Aug. 10, the Russian side opened the Kalanchak checkpoint near Armiansk that had been closed since Aug. 7.

On Aug. 10, the FSB released an official statement about averted terrorist attacks in annexed Crimea "prepared by the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine's MoD in order to target critical life-supporting and infrastructure facilities inside the peninsula." Further on, the FSB released a video with the alleged organizer of the thwarted "terrorist acts" in the occupied Crimea, Zaporizhia region resident Yevhen Panov.

Read more: Occupation court remands Ukrainian Yevhen Panov in two-month custody

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, said that Ukraine "has switched to the practice of terror."

Putin also said he considered the upcoming Normandy Four meeting to be pointless in the light of the alleged detention of Ukrainian "saboteur" in occupied Crimea.

Putin's puppet of the so-called "parliament" of Crimea Remzi Ilyasov said the occupying authorities perceive the incident "as an act of aggression, in fact, a declaration of war."

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine denied all Russia's allegations, calling them provocative.

National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov described the hysterical and false allegations by Russia's FSB as groundless and called them another element of Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine and an attempt to exacerbate the situation in the occupied territory.

The Ukrainian MoD has refuted the FSB's allegations on the involvement of Ukraine's intelligence in subversive activities in Crimea and called them an attempt of the Russian Federation to justify its aggression in the territory of the annexed peninsula.

President Petro Poroshenko said that the Russian allegations are groundless and serve as "a pretext for more military threats against Ukraine."

See more: Russian Foreign Ministry claims second "Crimean saboteur" detained. PHOTO

Spokesperson to the U.S. Department of State Elizabeth Trudeau said that the Russian Federation's recent allegations on Ukraine's involvement in "subversive activities" in Russian-occupied Crimea should not distract the United States from the real issue Russia has created in Ukraine.

On Aug. 11, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko instructed that all the units deployed at the administrative border with Crimea and the demarcation line in the Donbas be on high alert.

Ihor Kotelianets, Panov's brother, claims Yevhen was kidnapped in Ukraine's Zaporizhia region and taken to the occupied peninsula.

According to Ukraine's Defense Intelligence, none of its employees has been detained by the FSB to date in the territory of occupied Crimea.

The police have qualified the fact of Yevhen Panov's disappearance reported by his relatives as a criminal offence under the article 146 (illegal deprivation of freedom or abduction) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's representative in the humanitarian subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group Iryna Herashchenko says Yevhen Panov has become another kidnapped Russian hostage who Ukraine will have to liberate.
 
 
 
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