What the G7 wants to do in eastern Ukraine

Discussion between John Kerry, US Secretary of State (on the left) and Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The occasion was the Geneva 17 April talks between Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the EU on the situation in Ukraine. (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/4/2014).

Discussion between John Kerry, US Secretary of State (on the left) and Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The occasion was the Geneva 17 April talks between Ukraine, Russia, the United States and the EU on the situation in Ukraine. (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/4/2014).

 

It took only hours for the West and Russia to discover, after their 17 April Geneva agreement, that the situation in Ukraine is much more complicated than they wanted to make the rest of the world and the public opinion in their home countries believe. The belief that a few men, representing the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), could miraculously placate the armed militias of Donetsk was rather a public relations trick from the West’s side and a costless concession by Moscow.

Now, the impossibility to implement the Geneva agreement is used by the West as a justification to further corner Russia, while Moscow finds it increasingly costly to retain its gains. Last Saturday 26 April the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission (G-7) agreed to move swiftly and impose additional sanctions on Russia. According to well-informed circles in Brussels, the new measures against Russia will not target the economy or key business sectors like energy or transports but persons involved in the Ukrainian crisis.

A clear West – Russia confrontation

This time, however, the statement of the G-7 Leaders issued in Brussels by the European Commission contains a long reference on Crimea and Sevastopol condemning its annexation to Russia and reminding the world that the West will not recognize it. At this point, it must be reminded that the text of the Geneva agreement reached two weeks ago between the EU and the US on the one side and Russia on the other offering a ‘solution’ on the Ukrainian deadlock didn’t contain the slightest reference on Crimea.

On that occasion the European Sting writer Maria Milouv on 18 April observed that, “The joint statement of the four (EU, US, Russia, Ukraine) and the Press release issued by Ashton (after the Geneva meeting) are quite clear of what the West and Russia did on Ukraine. For one thing the West altogether ‘forgot’ the Crimean issue. Nowhere in the two documents is there a reference, not even one word, about the annexation of Crimea to Russia. The word ‘Crimea’ is completely absent from the texts. If this is not a selloff, words have lost their meaning… In return, the West took from Russia an indirect recognition of the Kiev government, which is made up by people controlled by the West and hostile to Moscow.”

Obviously, Russia’s acceptance to talk with the Kiev authorities and indirectly accept the new reality in Kiev was not enough for the Donetsk and Luhansk armed ‘protestors’. They acted as their Kiev counterparts who appointed the new Ukrainian President and government by the ‘authority’ of the Maidan Square. Armed militias in eastern Ukraine imitate at a regional level what the Maidan regiments of ‘protestors’ did at a national level; they appointed the authorities of their liking.

In Donetsk as in Kiev

Yesterday in Sloviansk, a large industrial center in Donetsk, the city ‘major’ appointed by the armed ‘protestors’ went as far as to arrest the OSCE appointed observers. They are a number of ‘uniformed’ diplomats from Germany, Poland, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech Republic who went there to convince the pro-Russian protestors to leave the government buildings they have occupied. They acted according to the text of the 17 April Geneva agreement and sent to Donetsk with an OSCE mandate. If their mission was to prove that this agreement is completely irrelevant to what is happening in eastern Ukraine, then it proved quite successful. Of course Russia as a member of the OSCE said it will “take all possible steps” to free the OSCE observers.

The truth is though that if Moscow manages to free those observers it will give indirect evidence that it controls the Donetsk ‘protestors’. Most possibly the pro-Russia ‘protestors’ will try to negotiate with the Kiev authorities the release of the OSCE observers, aiming at an indirect recognition of their status as new rulers of Donetsk. In this way the dismembering of Ukraine will be even closer. As if the mission of OSCE was exactly this.

Turn and twist it as one may, the idea that the West could bring Ukraine firmly under in own sphere of influence is quite absurd and dangerous and has already led to the annexation of Crimea to Russia. Unfortunately, the West has already applied destructive policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, so why not in Ukraine? This time though, the Ukrainian crisis is directly challenging Russia and threatens the world with a major destabilization.

 

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