Italian Eurodeputy Eleonora Forenza: What Is Really Happening in Ukraine?

Translated by Marco Aurelio Di Giorgio


Eleonora Forenza

Enough with the indecent European support to Poroshenko’s regime; n
o tolerance towards any nazi nostalgia, especially in the European parliament; be on the side of the antifascist struggle of the people of Donbass…

Yesterday’s tension between Russia and Ukraine has once again shot to the stars as a fully-fledged military skirmish between warships in the Sea of Azov broke out, not far off the shore of Crimea.

Luckily the episode was brief, but the Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has announced the introduction of martial law in the country, which will end a single month away from presidential elections.

What are European institutions doing to defuse the tension, negate the possibility of an escalation, and bring the discussion back to the political and diplomatic terrain?

They have the brilliant idea of celebrating five years of EuroMaidan, the coup d’etat which brought Poroshenko to power. And they do it so symbolically as well, hosting a special meeting of the foreign committee of the European Parliament and of the parliamentary delegation EU-Eastern Europe (Euronest), inviting to it the spokesperson of the Ukrainian parliament, this same Andriy Parubiy who distinguished himself last September by his ambiguous and heavy declarations about Adolf Hitler, asserting that in the 1930’s he was the first to apply direct democracy for his objectives.

But 5 years on from the Maidan “revolution”, Ukraine is a country in crisis. Far from having reached the wealth promised by approaching the West, what one can see are harsh economic difficulties, censorship of the media and the opposition, arrests of dissident journalists, and the outlawing of the Ukrainian Communist Party. In addition to this there are obviously the repeated violations of the Minsk II agreements, with the army being deployed along the buffer zone at the borders of Donbass, which should be demilitarised.

In this sense, the continuous economic and military support that the EU and NATO keep giving to a regime that does not give any guarantees regarding the anti-corruption norms, as is required by the European Parliament, and sees the presence of openly fascist paramilitary forces supporting it is extremely grievous.

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(Here is what the Resolution of the European parliament that condemns neo-fascist violence, approved last month and co-supervised by me, says:

“considering that, since the beginning of 2018, ‘C14‘ and other far right movements in Ukraine, such as ‘National Druzhina‘ affiliated with the Azov movement, Right Sector, Karpatska Sich and others, have attacked Romani groups various times, as well as antifascist manifestations, communal council reunions, an Amnesty International event, art exhibitions, LGBTQI events, and women’s rights activists and environmentalists;”)

Ukraine today does not seem to me to be that example of a growing democracy that Italy and Europe speak about. On the contrary, if the Ukrainian parliament were to ratify martial law, democratic spaces and spaces of freedom of expression would be reduced to nothing, with the possibility of establishing curfews, closing borders, and definitively silencing the press.

In this scenario, a few days ago, the ceremony of establishing institutions of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics of Donbass, voted for in the elections of the 11th November of this year, took place. Despite the continuous warfare on the borders and the recent attack that led to the death of the preceding head of the Republic of Donetsk, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the turnout was very high, over 86% in Donetsk and 77% in Lugansk.

The people of Donbass, who have been engaged in antifascist warfare for now almost five years after Maidan, have given a relevant democratic response, which cannot be underestimated when war sirens are sounding in other places. They went en masse to vote against the boycotting of all the Western chancelleries, which several times invited people not to vote and announced that they wouldn’t recognise the results of voting. And all of this happens while the actions of the Ukrainian government, which keeps kindling tensions, keep being supported.

Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik have been elected as the heads of the two People’s Republics.

I wish them all the best in an extremely difficult situation, which sadly the European institutions keep exacerbating.

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