Petro Poroshenko has admitted that the 2015 ceasefire in Donbass, which he negotiated with Russia, France and Germany as president of Ukraine, was merely a distraction intended to buy time for Kiev to rebuild its military.
He made the comments in interviews with several news outlets this week, including Germany’s Deutsche Welle television and the Ukrainian branch of the US state-run Radio Free Europe. Poroshenko also defended his record as president between 2014 and 2019.
“We had achieved everything we wanted,” he said of the peace deal. “Our goal was to, first, stop the threat, or at least to delay the war – to secure eight years to restore economic growth and create powerful armed forces.”
He cited Sun Tzu’s stratagems as an inspiration for the deception. Winning a war does not necessarily require winning military engagements, Poroshenko said, calling the deal he made a win for Ukraine in that regard.
Poroshenko failed to be reelected in a landslide vote for President Volodymyr Zelensky, who promised voters that he would secure peace in Donbass, unlike his predecessor.
In the interviews, Poroshenko spoke about his role in negotiating the Minsk agreements, a roadmap for reconciliation between his government and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The former president apparently confirmed that Kiev hadn’t come to the talks in good faith, but simply wanted a reprieve after suffering a military defeat.
The agreements included a series of measures designed to rein in hostilities in Donbass and reconcile the warring parties. The first steps were a ceasefire and an OSCE-monitored pullout of heavier weapons from the frontline, which were fulfilled to some degree.