Tag Archives: Ukraine

Russia wants to preserve the status quo of Moldova Republic and Transdniestria

Romanian-flagPPW:More and more Western experts seem to agree that Ukraine was abandoned, the EU nowadays having its own problems that does not know how to manage right. How to see things from Kiev?

Andriy Voloshyn: – I think Ukraine was abandoned from the beginning, when Russia annexed Crimean and started war on the East of Ukraine. There is Budapest Memorandum which was signed by Russia, USA and UK who guaranteed security of Ukraine. Russia violated it and other countries did not much to guarantee security of Ukraine, our country received only minor humanitarian help. We understand that while Obama is president nothing will change, but anyway I’m constantly raising this issue, and many American politicians, not only Republicans but also Democrats say that Ukraine should receive bigger help.

Andriy Voloshyn

If Western powers are afraid that providing military help will escalate the conflict with Russia, then Ukraine can get big economical help. We need to have Marshall plan for Ukraine. As I see the funds can go for creating new jobs, new businesses, new housing for army veterans and IDPs (the number of which is more than 1.5 million). Then by raising economy we will strengthen our army and other areas. Ukraine managed to restore its army very fast with the help of volunteers and people’s support. Unfortunately the resources of volunteers and patriotic people are also limited. So while we had so-called ceasefire – it is good time to focus on reforms and economy.

Ukrainian topics are much less frequently are raised in EU media for 2 main reasons. First reason is that we have now low-intensity conflict, was is going on but the territory and scale of it is limited so media attention is much smaller. Second reason is another focus of problems EU is facing now: migrant crisis, terrorism, different problems of state-members.

PPW: – I said that the negotiations for the Minsk agreements were rather PR for political leaders than a real help given to Ukraine? What do you think ?

A.V.: – I think we can say so. For example Lukashenko, President of Belarus seriously improved his image in the West because of providing the platform for Minsk agreements. Also for French and Germany leaders it is a way to show their countries as strong conflict-solving powers, strong diplomatic leaders. For Russia Minsk agreements is a tool to integrate so-called LNR and DNR (terrorist states) into Ukrainian political system which will be like a huge disease for Ukraine. Can you imagine terrorists becoming regional leaders, taking money from Ukraine’s budget and blocking any Ukrainian incentives which Russia dislikes (for example joining NATO).

We understand stat many EU countries want sanctions on Russia to be lifted and they see Minsk agreements as the only way to do it. But Ukrainians don’t see how it’s possible to make election in the areas controlled by terrorists, it’s not right to give amnesty to those who killed and tortured Ukrainian civilians. So Minsk agreements can be considered as temporary ceasefire (which is violated all the time by terrorists) but it has not political future…

At the same time Ukraine feels support of some EU countries, such as Baltic countries, especially Lithuania, Poland, Romania, recently cooperation with Turkey increased.

PPW: – What is the most serious problem facing Ukraine at the moment?

A.V.: – Apart from Russia (aggressive neighbor which is permanent threat for security), we still have many old corrupted officials and their affiliates which use different corruption schemes, block new people from coming to power, block reforms. Big problems are in judiciary and law enforcement areas. Corrupted officials, thieves, traitors were not punished, and often we see trials against patriots on some fabricated or stupid accusations.

PPW: – What strategy could conceive Kiev to recover its influence on Crimea? There is sufficient domestic policy levers (i.e. conditionings, restrains of energy and transport infrastructure linking Ukraine and Crimea) or external (the cooperation with the Euro-Atlantic community,  particularly Turkey) that can to help fulfill this objective?

 A.V.: – I would call this strategy “Soft Ukrainization”. Ukrainian geopolitical thinker of XX century Yurii Lypa wrote that Crimea – is a key to Black Sea, the key which is necessary to have to dominate the Black Sea. So the geopolitical long-term goal of Ukraine is to return Crimea. Right now it’s hard to imagine that Crimea will be returned without military action, but in long-term when Russia’s economy and military power will fall – then it would be possible. By occupation of Crimea, Russia violated international law and challenged all civilised world by this action. On the international level I’m sure no states except Russian satellites will recognize occupation of Crimea.

I’m supporter of idea of Baltic-Black Sea Union so the question of Crimea should be kept all the time on regional agenda. Russia threatens not only Ukraine, but also other neighbours, especially Baltic states, relationships with Turkey are spoiled, so that would be good for Ukraine to increase cooperations with countries from Baltic-Black Sea space. Strategy of “Soft Ukrainization” should include informational, political, economical and cultural aspects of activities for the increase of pro-Ukrainian sentiments in Crimea. Right now many Crimean citizens are not happy with the situation. Many people thought that moving from Ukraine will bring some benefits, but tourism flows fell, prices increased and for most of people who are not in military or state services, life didn’t changed to better. cw_LIQVjY1Y
The big goal is also to make really successful and prosperous Ukraine, so people from Crimea will see how many opportunities they lost. But being realist, even if majority of people from Crimea would be for joining Ukraine, Russia as it is now won’t allow it. So weakening and destruction of Russia (separation into several states) should happen before Crimea can be returned to Ukraine. The fall of Russia might look impossible right now, but were there many people who predicted fall of Soviet Union?

PPW: – The Ukrainian parliament just approved yesterday the resignation of the Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin, an close ally of President Poroshenko but seen by the Ukraine’s Western backers as an obstacle to tackling corruption. How do you comment the resignation of Mr. Shokin ?

A.V.: – It was not a surprise. Many members of parliament fought for this, also American ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt openly criticized him. More interesting is who will be next Prosecutor, there are candidacies supported by public opinion, and there are old bureaucrats, like Sevruk  (deputy of Shokin, who is acting as Prosecutor-General now) who anti-corruption activists accuse as the one who blocked the competition for employment in Prosecutor’s offices, so almost no new people came to work there.

PPW: – Local elections in secessionist territories of Ukraine  – according to German media – could be ideal pretext, if will be confirmed fulfill of the OSCE standards, for total or even partial lifting of sanctions imposed on Russia. What do you think ? In first, do you think that Kiev will allow local election in Donbas (June 2016) – it means fruitful negotiations with the separatists from DPR ?

A.V.: – I think everyone in Ukraine understand that it’s not possible to held such elections. I always make comparison with ISIS, can you imagine elections by OSCE standards there? The same is with DNR, LNR, terrorist organisations which are ruled by Russia (also in German press in Bild there was good material about Russian influence and rule over these “republics”). May be only Opposition block, which consist mostly of people affiliated to previous president Yanukovych) is interested in elections as they can increase their voter-base and there were rumors that their leader Yurii Boyko and oligarch Rinat Akhmetov can become leaders of these now ruled by terrorists groups. I think Russia can change leadership of the terrorists, it placed and removed people from there many times. But even if this happens – it’s not possible to make elections, most of people who live there now are scared and brainwashed. And what about people who had to run from there because they were in danger for their pro-Ukrainian position? After territory is clean from terrorists, there should be some period before the elections. It’s very strange when people say otherwise, it’s even possible to check other history of similar wars and anyway elections which are held under a gun – can’t be fair elections. While terrorists (separatists) are there – it’s impossible to make elections.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (C) former PM Arseny Yatseniuk (R) and newly PM and ex-Parliament Speaker (L) Volodymyr Groysman during a parliament session in Kiev, November 27, 2014. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich (UKRAINE - Tags: POLITICS)

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko (C) former PM Arseny Yatseniuk (R) and newly PM and ex-Parliament Speaker (L) Volodymyr Groysman during a parliament session in Kiev, November 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukraine had local elections recently under a new in all Ukrainian territories, including parts of Donbas which is not occupied. The bill on special status was voted on 16 September 2014, and was a part of Minsk agreements. The vote itself was un-constitutional, because the screen was black and it was not a personal vote like always, there is no information about who voted for it and who didn’t. This law was not and won’t be in action, it consisted many negative things such as amnesty for terrorists, also the date of elections there was set on 7 December 2014. The idea of special status for the areas which are now controlled by terrorists is very unpopular in Ukraine. So if any new similar bill would be prepared it can cause huge disagreement in Ukraine.

Regarding OSCE – many Russians work there and many pro-Russian people. Many times Ukrainian soldiers reported cases when OSCE visited them – after that they were under fire. For many people it might look strange facts that representatives of reputable organization is cooperating with terrorists, but lots of cases are reported, recently was popular case when OSCE celebrated wedding of one of terrorists. So the image of this organization is not the strongest among Ukrainians.

PPW: – What do you think about Russia intentions regarding Transnistria and Moldova Republic ?

A.V.: – I think Russia will do its best to keep Transnistria is the state which it is now. When Russia attacked Ukraine there were different options. I tend to think they considered to capture all Eastern Ukraine and Southern Ukraine, including Odessa oblast. In case they would succeed they could go further and annex Transnistria or make a fake referendum there like in Crimea. This scenario failed because Russia faced strong response from Ukrainian army, volunteer battalions and ordinary people. In case of this scenario  Transnistria could be used as one of the sides from where Russian military would attack. Right now it doesn’t look so important for Russia in military terms, but in case Transnistria will start to decide its vector for future – Russia may also intervene. Pro-Russian forces are strong in Moldova and they along with pro-Russian forces can be used as tool for destabilization for the western integration of Moldova.

PPW: – Could be Crimea the pivot of some state constructed by Russia around/in Ukraine and Moldova region through consolidating potentially of the separatist regions (like Transnistria, Novorossiya)?

A.V.: – In his propagandist film about annexation of Crimea Putin said he made a fortress from Crimea. May be Russians considered scenario of annexation of part of Southern and Eastern Ukraine, then they could have land connection to Crimea. But this scenario failed firstly thanks to Ukrainian volunteer battalions and army and secondly because they ideas of “Russian world” and “Novorossiya” was not popular in these regions.  Novorossiya is a failed project, and even many Russian expert  acknowledge it, some of Ukrainian regions have pro-Russian people, but their influence is not significant, and is decreasing all the time. Also  from the Russian point of view Crimea is Russia now, so they would not allow it now to become independent or become some part of other state.  From the political point of view Crimea is on the periphery of Russia, economically it’s a burden for Russian budget, but from the military point of view (mostly navy) it can be used against Ukraine or against other state.
Novorossiya is not a region, it was a plan, failed plan, now we have annexed Crimea and parts of Donbass (DNR, LNR) which are not more than territories controlled by terrorists.

PPW: – And last but not least, what about PM Yatsenyuk resignation ?

A.V.: – It was expected after prosecutor Shokin resigns. Parliament met for session and voted Thursday to seat a close ally of the president, Volodymyr Groisman (ex-head of Parliament) as new PM. So now the presidential vertical of power would be strengthened as Groisman is conidered as his man, his career was promoted by Poroshenko. Its investment was received with reticence. We’ll see if he can do the necessary reforms.

Andriy Voloshyn is Ukrainian political scientist, writer and geopolitical expert.  He is the author of ”Maidan and War in Ukraine. Geopolitical Thoughts” book.  Also Andriy Voloshyn is co-founder of NGO “International Initiative to Support Ukraine”, adviser to Member of Ukrainian parliament, founder of geopolitical Center GRUNT.

interview made by Gabriela Ionita

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Ukraine conflict – the main issue on the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council agenda

The 21st OSCE Ministerial Council, gathering some 50 foreign ministers, will take place on 4 and 5 December 2014, at the Basel Exhibition Centre, in Basel, Switzerland at the invitation of the 2014 OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.

1073303The Ministerial Council is the central decision-making and governing body of the OSCE. The meeting, held annually, provides foreign ministers and more than 70 delegations of OSCE participating States, partner countries and several international organizations an opportunity to review and assess the Organization’s activities during the past year and offer national viewpoints on security matters.

The foreign ministers were discussed the Ukraine crisis and common challenges within and beyond the OSCE area. The Council will set the course for the future work of the organization with Serbia taking the chair from 1 January.

It is essential to preserve the OSCE as a platform for inclusive discussions and as an effective responder despite divisions in Europe over the situation in Ukraine, said the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter in his opening address at the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel.

Opening session of the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel, 4 December 2014. (OSCE/FDFA/Béatrice Devènes)

Opening session of the 21st OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel, 4 December 2014. (OSCE/FDFA/Béatrice Devènes)

Acknowledging the OSCE as a bridge which can be used by both sides, Burkhalter said that a strong OSCE would bring peace, stability and security for everyone living in the OSCE region. He said political leaders had a responsibility to ensure that Europe does not become a divided continent again 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Burkhalter described the situation in Ukraine as fragile. He called on all participating States to fully support the initiatives the OSCE has launched to de-escalate and normalise the situation in Ukraine, such as the Trilateral Contact Group negotiations and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.

Notice that next round of Minsk talks may be held next week. The former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma who represents Kiev in the Contact Group told TASS reporters about the plans. The Minsk agreement is a basic document supported by the world, he said, noting that a positive result of the agreement was the fact that mass killing of people was stopped.
On September 20 in Minsk, the Contact Group on Ukraine signed a nine-point memorandum on a ceasefire. The OSCE monitors the compliance with the document, which was signed by OSCE envoy to Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov, Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko and head of the Lugansk People’s Republic Igor Plotnitsky.

Swiss Foreign Minister  added that Switzerland will support the Special Monitoring Mission with a further two million Swiss francs (1.7 million Euros), and remains committed to supporting the Mission beyond the Swiss Chairmanship of the OSCE.

The OSCE Parallel Civil Society Conference 2014, with a focus on tolerance and non-discrimination, concluded on 3 December at Hotel Pullman with outcomes being presented to the Chairperson-in-Office. Chairperson Burkhalter was held a press conference with incoming Chairperson, Serbia’s Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, where the civil society recommendations were presented by Civic Solidarity Platform members Yuri Dzhibladze and Izabela Kisic.

UPDATE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have supported the efforts of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Mission to Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Lavrov and Kerry also stressed the growing importance of soonest deescalation in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry added. It is necessary to make efforts to ensure lasting truce in Ukraine’s south-eastern regions, Lavrov said at a meeting with Kerry on the sidelines of a meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of member states of the OSCE in Switzerland’s Basel. “Lavrov focused attention on the necessity of the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements, ensuring stable truce and continuation of direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk,” the ministry said.

The two foreign ministers also exchanged views on a number of pressing international and regional problems, including the situation in the Palestinian-Israeli settlement and prospects for the settlement of the intra-Syrian conflict.

IMF towards Ukraine’s pro-Western leaders: ”We’ll pay for War !”

Do you think that the title is exaggerated ? Then how would you synthesize the following news ?

(Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund warned on Thursday it would be forced to re-design its $17 billion bailout for Ukraine and require additional financing if the country lost territory in its restive eastern region. The Fund also said a deterioration in relations between Ukraine and Russia, which buys about a quarter of Ukrainian exports, could further hurt Kiev’s economy (!?) and force an adjustment to the bailout approved by the IMF board on Wednesday.

Statement by IMF representatives came as a response to the statements of the interim president of Ukraine, Olexander Turchynov. Yesterday, the West must have been unpleasantly impressed listening to the lamentations of Turchynov. Ukraine’s acting president has admitted what had long been obvious: ”his government has practically lost control of the east of the country”, with his security forces “helpless” to stop a rolling takeover by pro-Russia gunmen. Turchynov also said numerous ”Ukrainian military and security personnel had defected to the rebels, taking their arms with them”. Using the language of defeat, he told a meeting of regional governors: “I will be frank. Today, security forces are unable to take the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions quickly under control”. (His comments came after anti-Kiev militants seized a string of official buildings in the eastern city of Luhansk on Tuesday).

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-POLITICS-CRISIS-SLAVYANSKSo, without Ukraine’s tax revenue from the rich East and some businesses to robbed, and with the western regions hoping to become the new European assisted social and get on EU benefits programs, the IMF representatives have seen black in front of their eyes. ”No fight – no East, no East – no money” ! Faced with the threat of financial occult leaders in Kiev have seen red in front of their eyes. ”No IMF money – no alms and electoral promises – no votes – no legitimacy!”. Next move – Ukrainian government launches a new military offensive.  

Early today 2 May, an anti-terrorist operation initiated by the Ukrainian government resumed in Slaviansk, a Donetsk Oblast city of 125,000 people that has been occupied by pro-Russian militants.

May 2, 4:12 p.m. – The pro-Russian protesters in Slaviansk are keeping almost the entire city under control except several streets in the suburbs, a source from the self-defense headquarters told Interfax. “The security forces controlled by Kyiv have failed to take the city but have taken only a couple of streets in the suburbs. The city itself is still fully controlled by the self-defense forces” he said. Shooting is still heard in the city, but no large-scale combat activities are under way now, he said.

May 2, 5:45 p.m. – Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov said the Ukrainian forces’ attack on the checkpoints in Slaviansk on May 2 left “many insurgents dead, wounded and arrested”. “The operation doesn’t unroll as fast as we want it to, and is significantly complicated by the fact that the terrorists’ bases are located in the crowded cities and the terrorists themselves hide behind the civilians, take hostages and shoot from the windows of apartment buildings” Turchynov said.

The fight goes on ! Welcome ! a new ”Syria” is coming…

Let’s make things clear ! I don’t like the idea&way of Russia expanding its borders. I also hate the idea&way of the Ukrainian coup government is killing the other Ukrainians that wish nothing to do with the new government.

But to push into a corner a state and after to say ”we make the rules ! you follow them or die ! but it’s your choice to live/get this money or not !” is a serious criminal offense . It’s called extortion. Extortion of human lives !

Update, May 2, 19:00 pm – Events in Odessa are a terrible tragedy. No one mind and soul still right can believe otherwise.

(BBC News) – At least 31 people have been killed in a fire in an official building amid violence in Odessa in south-west Ukraine, the interior ministry says.

The deaths came as pro-Russian protesters clashed with Ukrainian government supporters in the city.

Officials said some people were overwhelmed by smoke and others died after they jumped from the building.