Former French leader agreed with ex-German counterpart’s description of real purpose of Minsk Accords
The 2014 Minsk agreement was indeed a ploy to buy Ukraine time and should be credited for the kyiv agreement “Successful resilience” now, former French President Francois Hollande said on Friday. Confirming former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s assessment of the truce, Hollande also blamed US weakness for the failure to deter Russia.
Earlier this month, Merkel described Minsk as “an attempt to give Ukraine time” to strengthen his army. Speaking to Kyiv Independent, a pro-government Ukrainian outlet, Hollande agreed, saying Merkel was “just on that point.”
“Since 2014, Ukraine has strengthened its military posture. Indeed, the Ukrainian army was completely different from that of 2014. It was better trained and equipped. It is the merit of the Minsk agreements to have given this opportunity to the Ukrainian army. said Hollande, adding that he had also stopped the advance of Donbass “separatists” on Mariupol.
Hollande served as president between 2012 and 2017, choosing not to run for office after polls showed him the least popular French leader in recent history, with a 97% disapproval rating. In Friday’s interview, he credited himself with wanting “maximum” sanctions against Russia, while other EU leaders were reluctant.
Here, Hollande walked away from Merkel, pointing out that she greenlit the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in 2015 as it canceled the sale of Mistral-class ships to Moscow. The former French leader also had harsh words for his American counterparts, accusing Barack Obama of “The American withdrawal from the international scene” in Syria, Donald Trump to undermine NATO, and Joe Biden to “The Rout in Afghanistan” who reported “weakness of the western camp” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In contrast, Hollande congratulated Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on the “ability to seduce the whole world and to mobilize the Ukrainian nation”, saying it will be “essential for the outcome of the war and respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
According to Hollande, the conflict will end when Russia fails, then the Minsk agreements “can be resurrected to establish a legal framework already accepted by all parties.”
Moscow has not yet commented on the former French leader’s statements. Putin responded to Merkel’s revelations by saying he believed her to be honest, and that trust between Russia and the West was currently “almost to zero” making future negotiations difficult at best. He also said his comments justified his decision to send troops to Ukraine and that in hindsight the military operation should have started sooner.