Who threatens the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians?

Visit by Günther Oettinger, Member of the European Commission in charge of Energy to Warsaw, where he participates in discussions on gas distribution with Russia and Ukraine. Oettinger, on the left, meets with Alexander Novak, Russian Minister of Energy, on the right. (EC Audiovisual Services, 2/5/2014).

Visit by Günther Oettinger, Member of the European Commission in charge of Energy to Warsaw, where he participates in discussions on gas distribution with Russia and Ukraine. Oettinger, on the left, meets with Alexander Novak, Russian Minister of Energy, on the right. (EC Audiovisual Services, 2/5/2014).

People who fail to recognize that the stalemate in Ukraine cannot be resolved unilaterally by military force are not only very dangerous but are political, if not common law, crooks. For example, the appointed by the Maidan ‘regiments’, Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a lieutenant of the corrupt ex-Prime Minister Jylia Tymoshenko, while in Odessa said that he “fired all the senior police officers of the city” because as he put it, all the latest events were “part of a plan fomented by Russia to destroy Ukraine”.

In this line of bellicose logic the interim Kiev authorities are now confronting, albeit unsuccessfully, the pro Russia armed ‘protestors’ in the east and the south of the country using heavy military units and air raids. Obviously, the new rulers of Kiev are forgetting that the methods now used by the pro-Russian activists are exactly the same with the ones used by them when they ousted President Viktor Yanukovych only some weeks ago. The present interim pro-western government in Kiev has actually been appointed by the Maidan armed protestors.

Russia to lose most

The truth is though, that the big loser from the destruction of Ukraine will be Russia. For one thing, Kiev’s debts to Moscow amount to a round $80 billon. If Ukraine is partitioned or otherwise destroyed, Russia will lose all hope of getting back that money. More importantly though, the pipelines which transport the Russian natural gas, sold for hard euros to Western Europe, may be threatened by a prolonged east-west confrontation. Russia dearly values the sales of its natural gas to Europe, because there is no other reliable and prompt payer for the Russian energy products like the EU.

Unfortunately, after the scores of deaths in Odessa, reconciliation of the two sides becomes all more impossible. Despite the blame game between the pro and the anti-Russian sides, over who set a down town building on fire causing more than 40 deaths last Friday, the truth is that most of the dead were pro-Russian activists who had occupied the premises. Yet Yatsenyuk went to Odessa and pretended that the deadly confrontations, aka civil war, in the city were not a burning political issue but just a police and public order affair. His comments that the city’s authorities ‘violated the law’ were out of place. By this, he pretended that there is an unquestionable, completely legitimate and recognized by all political order in the country and just some outlaws want to reverse it.

Under this same logic the Kiev ‘interim’ government sent heavy army units against the city of Sloviansk, in order to regain the government building the pro-Russian activists have been occupying for days. It seems that Yatsenyuk is preparing the world for the news, that those army units use military force and heavy arms fire in order to ‘regain Sloviansk’. The West intervened in Libya for something like that.

Who wants a civil war?

Not everybody has lost touch with reality though. The American President Barack Obama, after meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the White House last week, said that “the US recognizes the legitimate interests of Russia in Ukraine”. Had the Kiev rulers translated that correctly, they should have started feeling uneasy and started showing a much more cooperative attitude towards their pro-Russia compatriots, because the US seems ready to ‘trade’ with Russia.

At the point that things have now reached, the option of one single authority based in Kiev and ruling the entire country looks out of question. The real issue is rather what kind of federation or even confederation may keep Ukraine as a single state, of course at the exception of Crimea. The Obama statement mentioned above is an indication of the compromise which may have been reached between the US and Germany over the Ukrainian issue and the West’s stance against Russia. Invariably, those indications point to a solution catering for the interests of all the major world players. What is totally neglected is the safety and the livelihood of the poor Ukrainian people, who would mourn more deaths until the West and Russia think they had all they could get from the poor country.


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