The document states the need for holding a dialogue on constitutional reform with participation of all regions. A Special Monitoring Mission of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is to monitor the compliance on spot. The Kiev interim regime agreed to adhere to the key provisions of the document. It means it has to put an end to the anti-terrorism operation, or the punitive actions against the people of Southeastern regions, to be more exact. Will the interim government carry out its obligations?
Until now it has escalated the conflict against the opposing Southeast which demands referendum on changing the state structure of the country and making Russian the second official language.
A major part of Ukraine’s industrial potential is located in the Southeast. Since the protests started, the Kiev authorities did not do anything to start a dialogue and manage the conflict peacefully. Instead dozens of activists were arrested accused of instigating “separatism”. It added oil to the fire of people’s indignation. Repressions sparked mass demonstrations, protesters started to act by capturing administrative buildings, disarming police and security forces.
The special operations forces and army units supported by tanks, artillery, army helicopters and tactical aviation were sent to quell the movement. Kiev armed and sent to the Donetsk region Ukrainian nationalists hostile to Russians and Russian speaking citizens. They are the force able to plunge the country into a civil war.
The interim government’s reluctance to start talks made people take power into their own hands; a number of cities came under the control of protesters. The only response Kiev could offer was to concentrate forces in the North of the Donetsk region in preparation for an offensive to seize the regional capital.
The use of regular army units started immediately after the director of US Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan visited Kiev on April 12 to meet acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaliy Yarema, who was in direct control of actions aimed at quelling the uprising. It gave rise to suspicions that the director of CIA pushed the Kiev authorities to take the decision on the use of force.
The Donetsk region is an area adjacent to the Russian border, ethnic Russian and Russian speaking citizens constitute the majority of population. From the very start Moscow tried to convince Kiev that the problem could not be solved without talks with opposition but Kiev insisted that the negotiation process should be limited by contacts with Washington, Brussels and Moscow. The attempts to manage the conflict without talks with the opposing party are ridiculous.
The Kiev regime will most likely use the talks started on April 17 for tackling the problems not immediately related to the conflict.
First, having come to power as a result of a coup, the regime needs legitimation. Moscow does not recognize the Kiev-based regime. It makes it illegitimate in the eyes of major part of Ukraine’s population. For many people the Moscow’s point of view carries much more weight than the opinion of Washington or Brussels. It makes the Kiev regime seek ways to get to the round table together with Russian counterparts. In Geneva US State Secretary John Kerry, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton and Ukraine's acting Foreign Minister Andrey Deshitsa tried to do their best to make the meeting look like the Russia’s recognition of the Ukraine’s interim government. They failed. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov flatly refused to appear before the press together with his Ukrainian counterpart.
Second, Kiev believes that the very fact of having the regime’s interim Foreign Minister taking a seat at the same table as the foreign chiefs of the United States, the European Union and Russia, with Russian Foreign Minister opposing others, should demonstrate the support of Kiev authorities by the West creating a favorable propaganda effect.
Third, the Kiev-based interim regime, Washington and Brussels excluded the representatives of the Ukraine’s Southeast what makes Moscow the only participant to defend its rights at the talks. It may make Moscow look like a party to the Ukraine’s internal conflict in the eyes world community. Probably Washington believes that such an impression will make Europeans view Moscow as an enemy again. Still it is hardly expedient for the European Union to follow the overseas ally; the possible division of Ukraine and dismemberment of its territory would create an extremely dangerous precedent for the whole Europe.
Maidan has made Ukraine plunge into chaos. Only a comprehensive dialogue can lead the country out of the crisis. The people of the Southeastern part of the country should have their representation, the delegates they would choose and trust. Without giving them a chance to be heard, the four-party talks will inevitably hit snags, especially in view of obvious reluctance displayed by Kiev to comply with the provisions of the agreement reached in Geneva on April 17.
By Vladimir Sedov
This commentary was first released by ‘Strategic Culture Foundation’ on April, 21, 2014.