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Crunch Time in Minsk: Will the German Chancellor Bring Peace to Ukraine?

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The impending bloodbath could take place at any time... According to the Financial Times, a defeat in Debaltsevo could be a "breaking point" in the war in Ukraine. "At stake is control over regional railway shipments of coal mined in rebel-held territory on which Ukraine's electricity generators and export-oriented steel sector depend." The situation is desperate and likely to get worse. Kiev is very close to losing the war in the east. The losses to the army, the economy and to morale are bound to be devastating.

So time is running out for Poroshenko and his crew. If Merkel doesn't push through a peace agreement on Wednesday -- even one she doesn't like or that may be politically unpopular -- then hostilities will resume, the hawks will get the upper hand, the Obama administration will sends weapons and trainers to the theatre, and the US will use the deepening crisis as an excuse to seize the initiative and take things to the next level, a level that will inflict so much damage on the Donbass, that Putin will be forced to deploy troops to protect Russian-speaking people in the conflict area. That will transform a manageable proxy war on the eastern perimeter into a full-blown confrontation between nuclear-armed adversaries.

Merkel must see the danger or she wouldn't have rushed off to Moscow last Friday. But seeing isn't enough. Something has to be done. What's she going to do about it? Will she use her influence to muscle through a peace deal that will keep events from spinning out of control or will she sit on her hands and let the opportunity pass her bye?

Carpe diem, Angela. Carpe diem.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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