Recently it was reported that late August 2014, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko threatened to publish the data of hundreds of dog tags belonging to the Russian soldiers detained or killed in Ukraine on the Internet. Ukrainian President promised to do so, if the President of Russia Vladimir Putin did not agree to sign a peace agreement, Financial Times writes in its Battle for Ukraine.
The article was issued basing on the results of interviews with officials from more than ten countries. Reporters tried to recreate the events that culminated in the failure of international diplomacy to settle the conflict in the Donbas.
According to the publication, last August Petro Poroshenko wanted to quickly stop the attack of militants in the Donbas, so he appealed to Putin. According to one of the Western diplomats, President Poroshenko was afraid of losing his position if he did not achieve victory or a truce. Back then the Ukrainian leader told Putin on the phone that the Ukrainian army would put dog tags of the Russian soldiers online and tell their mothers and wives where their relatives were, if the offensive did not stop.
The article notes that Poroshenko told about this event to some Western politicians, but Russia does not confirm it. Some consider such actions of Ukrainian President as mock demonstration of courage when he faced a serious task of saving the country.
August 26, Putin agreed to negotiate in Minsk. According to one of the officials, it was "one of the most surreal meetings he had ever attended." U.S. official called it a "bar for international diplomacy of "Star Wars."
The publication notes that at the meeting the conflict in the Donbas was not discussed, and the official pretext for the negotiations was the problem of combining economic association between Ukraine and the EU with the activities of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. By his actions, Putin tried to prevent the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU had not been ratified yet by the Ukrainian Parliament.
At the end of the meeting, Poroshenko and Putin were left alone. As the witness official said, Poroshenko immediately demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. In response, Putin denied the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine and said that if he really wanted to attack, he would have mobilized 1.2 million soldiers with the most advanced weapons in the world available to him. Poroshenko put forward his version of a peaceful solution of the conflict, letting Putin suggest his ideas if he was not satisfied with the proposal.
The newspaper reminds that after the Minsk negotiations the military conflict in the Donbas escalated. The leaders of Ukraine and Russia continued to discuss the situation over the phone being under pressure. Poroshenko had to quickly stop the advance of the insurgents, and in Russia people began to talk about the burial of Russian corpses in Ukraine. This situation allowed Poroshenko to threaten Putin more decisively, the newspaper writes.