"Crosstalk: End of Minsk process"
RT.com (Februrary 23, 2019)

[0:25 ]Peter Lavelle: "Russia's official recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk peoples republics as independent states firmly puts to an end what was known as the Minsk peace process. This recognition also creates a new political fact on the ground. And there is nothing NATO can do about it."

. . .

[5:48] Joe Lauria: "" [17:00] Peter Lavelle: "Russia is going to start making decisions based on its own security."

[17:06] Joe Lauria: "The United States cannot conceive of themselves as being aggressors. They still have a World War II fantasy of having defeated Hitler. Of course, it was Russia that mostly defeated Hitler. [The Americans] see themselves as spreading democracy although they've overthrown numerous democracies from Chile to Guatemala to Ukraine.

But they project. And you mentioned projection. This week they sent out a letter to the U.N. high commissioner for refugees saying that they had from media, from intelligenced that they didn't cite, of course – they never do – that Russia was going to completely take over Ukraine, including Kiev. They [the Russians] had lists of journalists and dissidents they were going to capture and kill and torture in concentration camps. And then you look at the United States record in the past couple of decades. Abu Ghraib [in Iraq], it was a torture center. Guantanimo, it's a concentration camp in Cuba. They have a journalist, Julian Assange in prison in London. So just what they were accusing Russia of planning to do, and actually using the UN as a foil here to try and spread this story, they themselves do [emphasis added].

And I do believe, as you said, Peter, that the U.S. seems to have wanted this war. It was question. They were screaming every single day. It was a distraction from the NATO treaties, the draft treaties that Russia put forward. But they seem to have wanted to drag Russia into a trap in the Donbass by starting up this offensive. And, cleverly, the civilians were evacuated [by Russia] first. The recognition of the republics. Putting Russian troops in there in a peacekeeping role in a country they now legally recognize and by whom they were invited in, because no other country does recognize that.

But the American response was quite mute in a way, strangely enough. They didn't call it the invasion, right away, that they were expecting. So they [the West] want them [the Russians] to go to Kiev. And when Biden says that [several million] people in Kiev are going to die in their beds from Russian bombs. But then they say they're defending Ukraine? It undercuts their credibility that they really believe this will happen by not sending troops there. If the Americans sent troops – and I'm not advocating that they do that – but if they reallybelieved that Ukraine was going to be overrun, how could they let this happen. Because they don't give a damn about Ukraine.

[19:32] . . . [other guest commentator] . . .

. . .

[22:35] Scott Ritter: "I think we are in for a long haul. And it's going to be very uncomfortable for all parties involved, especially the Ukrainians who are going to be stuck in the middle. Russia has prepared itself for the reality of sanctions. Now we'll see. Prior to this we had the theory of massive sanctions. Russia knows sanctions. They've been sanctioned by the West since 2014. Russia understands how its economy works. It understands what its vulnerable points are and I'm sure they've prepared for it.

You know who hasn't prepared for any of this? Europe and the United States. Because if these sanctions go down the path they look like, Europe is going to suffer egregiously. Their economies will collapse. Many of the European nations that are currently pounding their chests about how tough they're going to be are going to be crying in pain as their economies collapse. And you know who else isn't prepared? The American people. When gas prices go through the roof; when inflation goes through the roof; when the economy collapses; when their paycheck is worthless, they're suddenly going to be asking pertinent questions like 'What the heck are we doing?' And at that point in time, I think you're going to see it.

And Russia isn't going to budge. Let me just make that point. I don't believe Russia is going to budge. Russia is going to stick to its principles, stick to its arguments. The West is going to have to come to them. And that's what's ultimately going to happen.

Now, while this game is being played about who can outwait whom – and, believe me, Russia can outwait the West – there is the question of Ukraine. Can this conflict be confined to Donetsk Lugansk in terms of what's currently going. I don't believe so. I believe that, A, Ukraine can't tolerate this. Zelenski can't survive as a politician. And, B, the West is going to egg him on because, as you have rightly pointed out, there are some people in the West who have romanticized the concept of Ukrainian 'resistance'. And, of course, we in the West have poured in over a billion dollars of modern weaponry. But the reality is the Ukrainian army isn't properly trained on these weapons. They haven't properly integrated them into their structure. And they lack a viable doctrine: tactically, operationally, and strategically, to use these weapons. So these weapons are useless, mostly found in a warehouse. And I'm afraid that Ukraine is going to be pushed by the West to do [what it shouldn't and can't]"