“If Kiev violates the agreement, Russia may refuse to recognize Ukraine’s territorial integrity”—Vyacheslav Nikonov

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2/18/2015

 

“If Kiev violates the agreement, Russia may refuse to recognize Ukraine’s territorial integrity”—State Duma Deputy

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

If Kiev violates Minsk-2, Russia will consider itself freed
from the obligation to recognize Ukraine’s territorial integrity. During a
plenary meeting of the State Duma on February 17, the United Russia Party
deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov noted that the Minsk-2 agreement is a chance for
peace in Ukraine, and a chance for Ukraine to exist as a state.

“If they don’t want to take advantage of it, it will be only
their fault. If the agreement is violated, Russia can also consider itself free
from its provisions, which include the recognition of Ukraine’s sovereignty and
territorial integrity, so I would not advise Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, Turchinov,
and company to take this matter lightly.”

J.Hawk’s Comment: It’s unlikely that Nikonov is expressing his
own personal opinions, especially on a matter as weighty and sensitive as the future of
Ukraine. Russia had so far refrained from recognizing Novorossia or to invite
it to join the Russian Federation. However, even as the Ukrainian army is
emerging broke by the Debaltsevo Debacle, Poroshenko has not changed his
militant tone one bit. He even went so far as to call this calamity a military
victory for Ukraine (although one has to wonder whether the people of Ukraine who
after all were able to see and hear individual battalion commanders describe
the real situation during live broadcasts). Perhaps he is worried about the
upcoming Maidan anniversary and thinks that he needs to shore up his “right
flank” by sounding tougher than the neo-Nazis.

However, to continue the war Poroshenko would have to
abrogate the Minsk-2 agreement, which now faces no obstacles since the
Debaltsevo Pocket has been practically reduced. Poroshenko’s hyperbolic
statements concerning UAF’s heroic withdrawal from Debaltsevo confirm that the
battle there is over. What Nikonov is doing is sending a signal (which has been
picked up and amplified by other Russian officials, though not a single senior
foreign policymaker—so far) that should Ukraine continue to look for ways to
escalate the situation, Russia will see it and raise it.

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