Poroshenko’s Options Burning in The Fires of Donbass


Photo: Colonel Cassad blog

February 2, 2017 – Fort Russ News

Oleg Tsarev (Former Ukrainian MP), Live Journal – Translated from Russian by Kristina Kharlova 


I, like many of my comrades believe that a horrible end is better than horror without an end. Recent events in Donbass show that the process has entered the final stage when decisions will soon be made. 

What is reassuring is that the armed forces of Novorossia are now allowed to respond to provocations, because until now it was very strict: they were practically banned from responding to attacks in order to avoid accusations that the Republics are provoking escalation. Because Ukrainian authorities distorted the situation. If there was a response, they said “We were shelled!” and so forth, involving the OSCE. But now the global landscape is changing, changing the methods. We can see this from reports of foreign media. The militia began to respond, and this response is very painful for the enemy.

The Ukrainian side very clearly feels the line, after which the answer will not just be painful, but fatal. And I believe they don’t want to cross this line. This is why they only resort to shelling, not a massive advance. Indeed there are many victims. Moreover, the common position of Donetsk, Lugansk and all of us – there is no joy in the high number of deaths. It is clear that the killed civilians and soldiers of NAF on our side are a tragedy, but losses on the other side don’t bring joy to anyone either. We understand that responsibility for all rests on Poroshenko. And we understand that as soon as the political situation in the country will change, those guys who stand on the other side of the front line – 90% and maybe even more – will change their perspective. But if they are dead, it’s irreversible… And that’s what’s tragic.

It is encouraging that Russian TV reporters now react to the events in Donbass more adequately than in previous months, and reports of the same Alexander Sladkov on channel “Russia 24”, in general, correctly describe the situation on the battlefield. I think the reason is as follows. For several years people died, and there was no end to this situation. And how should they present it on Russian TV? Russian people are dying and the Russian government does not take any serious action. So the subject of Donbass was pushed aside. But now everyone understands that in Ukraine, and in Russia, decision will be made. And soon enough. And the situation will evolve in a different direction. So Donbass is back in the media.

Against this background, we see an extraordinary activity of Poroshenko. First Poroshenko announces a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO and says that if four years ago 16% of Ukrainians supported this move, now it is 54%. But the numbers of those wishing to join NATO in Ukraine are irrelevant (according to other sources they are quite different).  What matters is that NATO itself is now categorically opposed to Ukraine joining the organization. Therefore, there is no point in holding the referendum. It’s just one of the ways of Poroshenko to remind about himself. 

Imagine this situation. He was a minion of Western European and American leaders, politicians. He was showered with attention, the money sent to Ukraine, the aid. Suddenly and rapidly, literally in a month the situation has changed and no one wants to see him or talk to him. It took him much effort to meet with Merkel, and the results of the meeting were such that he had to urgently save his reputation. Blaming Donbass escalation, especially in Avdeevka, his hasty departure from Berlin actually saved a failed visit. Poroshenko clings to every opportunity to get back on the global political agenda. He will fail, but he will still try. I think it’s more of a psychological denial to come to terms with the role, with the situation in which he finds himself. His situation is about the same as Hitler, six months before the end of the war. Only then the war lasted longer, and now the time is compressed and everything happens quite quickly. He is trying to build some kind of relationships, to negotiate with one, the other, to find his place, to stay alive. And the most important thing for him is to save his money. He is approaching the point when it would be impossible.

It is worth noting today’s statement by the permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko that the American authorities promised him not to recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation. There are different points of view, but, most likely, Crimea will not be recognized by the West as part of the Russian Federation in the near future. It’s hard to imagine what needs to happen in order for the global elite to recognize Crimea’s accession to Russia. Another thing is that this issue can be pushed into a far corner and removed from the agenda. Even sanctions could be lifted, but recognition of Crimea is a long and laborious process. It is not about USA, or Europe, but Russia. If Russia becomes as strong as was the Soviet Union, then it doesn’t matter if it is recognized or not recognized by the United States and Europe. By the way, we should remember that the three Baltic republics were not recognized by the West as part of the USSR for half a century, but, nevertheless, this has not prevented them from remaining part of the country. And there are many such examples.

The Minsk agreement: the latest meeting in Minsk was, as always, empty talks; have you seen any real steps? Nobody expected any developments from Minsk. Yes, there are no changes – and it is expected. Obviously, all the developments are taking place elsewhere. I have already said that the ideal scenario is a situation when Ukraine’s problem will be resolved outside of the borders of Ukraine. Not through armed confrontation when one Russian is fighting with another Russian who is convinced he is not Russian – but in some other place. And these process is underway.

What are we seeing? Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump had a talk. The conversation lasted forty minutes. Taking into account the time for translators, it lasted twenty to thirty minutes. What say the leaders on such occasions? Look at Trump’s impressive entourage. The Western media highlighted that, when Trump talked with Merkel, he had a different smaller set of advisers. When leaders talk longer than ten minutes, it is significant. They discuss issues on the agenda, reason if there is a desire to solve them, and in a few words describe how they see the solution to these issues. If there are no contradictions, they appoint those responsible for each issue. Next to Donald Trump were the people who were immediately told: you are going to deal with this issue, you get Syria, you – Ukraine, you – another issue. Further those responsible must communicate with each other and develop the concept for the personal meeting of the leaders. And plans developed by Trump’s and Putin’s team will be implemented.

According to my sources, team Trump will arrive in Ukraine within two weeks (but certainly before the end of February). The representatives of the Republican party visited Ukraine before, but not the wing which will today address Ukrainian issues. We remember McCain’s visit, a meeting with Tymoshenko. Now it is the turn of Trump’s representatives to solve the issues. In my opinion, there is a working script, by which Ukraine will be dealt with. In principle, the leaders agreed that cooperation between Russia and USA will be focus on solving the problem of terrorism. In Syria it is ISIS, in Ukraine, terrorists in fact are at the head of the state. And these terrorists staged a civil war, staged a genocide of their own population. And this issue must be addressed.

How will it be solved? There are too many options to discuss here. I will focus only on the fact that in any case the path that is charted by the Minsk agreements is the only way that provides a political solution. It is obvious that with this composition of the Verkhovna Rada it is impossible to resolve political issues, which are recorded in the Minsk agreements. The deputies simply will not vote. In Ukraine, the “war party” is very strong. The “war party” is led by Yatsenyuk, Parubiy and Turchinov. 

Poroshenko had the opportunity to remove Avakov after the events in Knyazhich. Did not go through, although thought about it long and hard. As you remember Avakov was in hiding for a week, held unofficial talks, and yet he remained in place. And today, Turchinov and Avakov actually organized the blockade of Donbass, to avoid an open confrontation with Poroshenko. The contradictions came to the brink, and Poroshenko understands that the global situation is now changing and he needs to be replaced. He cannot be replaced, because in this case he must purge the “war party”, which will fracture the coalition. If the coalition dissipates – the parliament understands that it must be re-elected. And most likely impeach Poroshenko.

Yulia Tymoshenko tried to pull it off: using the son of UPA commander Yuri Shukhevych she wanted to question the Minsk agreement and declare impeachment of the president. Failed. But in today’s Ukraine it is not necessary to follow the full impeachment procedure. It is enough to vote for impeachment and say, Yes, we impeached him. It is enough to declare it, and then just throw Poroshenko out of the administration of the president and call new elections. 

Ukrainian authorities wiped their feet on the Constitution of Ukraine so many times, that they can do it again – for political expediency. Therefore, the collapse of the coalition for Poroshenko is a critical point. He is grasping for options. There is a possibility that Yatsenyuk will be put in charge of National Bank. Many banks, including systemic “Privat”, are bankrupt, there are many debts, and the head of National Bank is in charge of significant financial resources. All of these debts are sold at a lower price. There is a flow of black money. In charge of this flow is Poroshenko. Yatsenyuk offered himself for head of National Bank and guaranteed that the deputies of “Popular Front” will remain loyal to Poroshenko, or will remain in the coalition.

But Poroshenko has not yet made a decision. Why? Because about 50% of the deputies of the “Popular Front” side with Avakov, 7-8% – Pashinsky. And there are risks even if Yatsenyuk gets National Bank, the coalition will still fall apart. Therefore Poroshenko has a difficult choice, but he hopes to find the way out. He hopes to survive as a political figure and offer something to Trump, if Trump will hold. Because I must say that Soros is not missing a bit. US protests are funded by Soros and Soros (cannot accuse him of being stupid), apparently believes he has a chance against Trump. And now all Poroshenko’s statements, all the shelling of Donetsk is very nicely playing into the hands of team Democrats – Clinton, Obama, Soros… As he further pushes himself into a corner.

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