Ukraine’s devastating defeat by the Russian army not only forced it to ask for a humiliating cease fire, but has now compelled Kiev to make large political concessions to Putin. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Mr. Poroshenko was left with little choice but to conclude the peace deal after a massive Russian intervention last month turned the tide against his army. Six months of heavy fighting left infrastructure shattered and at least 3,000 dead. […]The new law offering special status to rebel-held territories was passed in a closed session of parliament and gives three years of self-governance to territories under separatist control after elections on Dec. 7. Parliament also passed a law offering broad amnesty to separatists, pro-European lawmaker Andriy Shevchenko wrote on his Twitter feed.The “special status” law was approved by 277 deputies in the 450-seat chamber, while 287 voted for the amnesty, Mr. Shevchenko wrote.Some lawmakers, including nationalists from the Svoboda party, said they hadn’t voted for the law. Mr. Poroshenko, who floored the law, faced criticism for what critics say was agreeing to effectively hand control to rebels.
Make no mistake about this. The settlement is a deeply damaging blow to our values, to our prestige and to our geopolitical interests. The foolish and distracted Western policies that encouraged Ukraine into a confrontation with Russia in which the West was unwilling to back it; the shameful and feckless mix of triumphalist rhetoric and minimalist action; the cluelessness in the face of Putin’s skillful mastery of Western psychology and divisions; the miserable consequences of all this for the Ukrainian state: every country, every leader in the world has been paying close attention.
Historians, by the way, will also pay attention; the Obama legacy has been permanently tarnished. Unless some real changes take place, neither this President nor his close associates will cut an impressive figure when the accounts are drawn up.