© Reuters/Jim Bourg
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (in red) smiles at the start of a quadrilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (3rd L) and Ukraine's Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia (3rd R) in Geneva, as representatives of the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union about the ongoing situation in Ukraine, April 17, 2014.
There are many potentially worrying signs in the 'de-escalation' process in theory agreed by the US, Russia, EU and Ukraine this Thursday in Geneva.
For starters; the regime changers in power in Kiev did not commit themselves, explicitly, to constitutional reform (the draft language is slippery, to say the least); they did not commit, explicitly, to leaving Ukraine out of NATO; and a minor but still significant point - this was not a joint press conference by the two key players, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Arguably, the US State Department is bound to interpret 'de-escalation'
as a sort of ultimatum to every anti-fascist, pro-autonomy and pro-Russia group in eastern Ukraine, as in 'disarm or else'. That's the same logic behind the nefarious March 2011 UN approval of a no-fly zone over Libya.
By negotiating directly with the Kiev regime changers in Geneva, Moscow in fact took a step back - recognizing them as a legitimate government (until then that was an absolute no-no.) Moscow also implicitly recognized groups in eastern Ukraine - be they independent-ist, pro-autonomy or pro-Russia - as the only ones to be disarmed (what about Nazi-style or neo-fascists groups in western Ukraine?)
And the key problem; there's no way to verify for sure the neutrality of OSCE peace missions, which can be easily infiltrated by Western intelligence and even facilitate the weaponizing of neo-fascist, pro-Kiev outfits.