Oleg Tsarev: Cornered Poroshenko Blows Up Donbass in an Appeal to NATO

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard




I, as many of my comrades, believe that a horrible end is better than endless horror. Recent events in Donbass show that the process has entered its final stage when decisions will soon be made.

What is comforting is that the Novorossiyan Armed Forces are now allowed to respond to provocations, because until now it was very restrained: they were practically prohibited from responding to attacks in order to avoid the accusation that the Republics provoke an escalation. Because Ukrainian authorities blurred the situation. If there is a response, they will say that “We were shelled!” and so on, involving the OSCE. But now the global landscape is changing, the methods change. We can see this from foreign media reports. The militia began to respond, and this response is very damaging for the enemy.

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

It is encouraging that Russian TV reporters now react to events in Donbass more adequately than they did in previous months, and reports of the same Aleksandr Sladkov on “Russia 24”, generally speaking, 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 it be presented on Russian TV? Russian people are being killed and the Russian government does not take any serious action. So the subject of Donbass is pushed to the side. But now everyone understands that in Ukraine, and in Russia, a decision will be made. And soon enough. And the situation will develop in a different direction. So Donbass is back in the media.

Against this background, we see the extraordinary activity of Poroshenko. Firstly, Poroshenko announces a referendum on Ukraine’s accession to NATO and says that if four years ago 16% of Ukrainians supported this step, now it is 54%. But the numbers of those wishing to join NATO in Ukraine are not relevant (according to other sources they are quite different). What matters is that NATO is now categorically opposed to Ukraine joining the bloc. Therefore, there is no point in holding a referendum. It’s just one of Poroshenko’s ways to offer a reminder about himself.

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Imagine this situation. He was a serf of Western European and American leaders and politicians. He was showered with attention, money was sent to Ukraine, as well as aid. Suddenly and rapidly, literally in one month, the situation has changed, and no one wants to see him or talk to him. It took him a lot effort to meet with Merkel, and the results of the meeting were such that he had to urgently salvage his reputation. After blaming Donbass for the escalation, especially in Avdeevka, his speedy departure from Berlin actually saved his failed visit. Poroshenko grasps onto every opportunity to return to the global political agenda. He will fail, but he will persist. I think it’s more of a psychological denial to come to terms with the role and situation that he finds himself in. His situation is quite like Hitler’s six months before the end of the war. Only back then the war lasted longer, and now time is truncated and everything happens quite quickly. He is trying to build some kind of relationship, to negotiate with one, with another, to find his place and remain alive. And the most important thing for him is to save his money. He is approaching the point when it becomes impossible.

Today’s statement by the permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations Vladimir Yelchenko – that the American authorities promised not to recognize Crimea as a part of the Russian Federation – is worth paying attention to. There are different viewpoints, but, in all likelihood, Crimea will not be recognized by the West as a part of the Russian Federation in the near future. It’s hard to imagine what must happen in order for the global elite to recognize Crimea’s accession to Russia. An additional thing is that this issue can be pushed into a far corner and pulled from the agenda. Sanctions could be lifted, but recognition of Crimea is a long and strenuous process. It is not about the US, or Europe, but Russia. If Russia becomes as strong as it was in the Soviet Union, then it doesn’t matter if it is recognized or not by the United States and Europe. By the way, we ought to remember that the three Baltic Republics were not recognised by the West as being a part of the USSR for half a century, but, nevertheless, this did not prevent them from remaining a part of the country. And there are many examples like this.

The Minsk Agreements: the latest meeting in Minsk was, as it always is, empty talk; have you seen any genuine steps? No one expected any developments from Minsk. Yes, there are no changes, as was expected. Obviously, all developments are taking place elsewhere. I have already said that the best scenario is a situation when Ukraine’s problems will be resolved outside Ukraine’s border, not through a military confrontation when one Russian is fighting against another Russian, who is convinced he is not Russian -but from some other place. And this process is underway.

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What are we seeing? Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump held talks. The conversation was 40 minutes long. Bearing in mind the time for language translations, it was twenty to thirty minutes long. What did the leaders say on such an occasion? Look at Trump’s impressive entourage. The Western media highlighted this – when Trump talked with Merkel, he had a different, smaller group of advisers. When leaders talk longer than 10 minutes, it is significant. They discuss issues on the agenda, explore if there is desire to resolve them, and in a few words describe how they envisage the solution to these issues. If there are no problems, 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 will get Syria, you will get Ukraine, you will get another issue. Furthermore, those responsible must communicate with one another and develop a plan for the personal meeting of leaders. And plans developed by the team of Trump and Putin will be implemented.

According to my sources, Trump’s team will arrive in Ukraine in the next two weeks (but definitely before the backend of February). The representatives of the Republican party visited Ukraine previously, but not the wing that will address Ukrainian issues. We remember McCain’s visit and the meeting with Tymoshenko. Now it is the turn of Trump’s representatives to solve the issues. In my opinion, there is a working plan that will be used to deal with Ukraine. In principle, the leaders agreed that cooperation between Russia and the US will focus on solving the problem of terrorism. In Syria this is ISIS, in Ukraine terrorists are the heads of state. And these terrorists staged a civil war, staged genocide of their own population. And this issue must be addressed.

How will it be resolved? There are too many possibilities to discuss here. I will focus only on the fact that in any case the path that is carved by the Minsk Agreements is the only path that provides a political solution. It is obvious that with the current composition of the Verkhovna Rada it is impossible to resolve the political issues that are written down in the Minsk Agreements. The Deputies will not vote. In Ukraine, the “Party of War” is very strong. The “Party of War” is led by Yatsenyuk, Parubiy, and Turchynov.

Poroshenko had the opportunity to remove Avakov after events in Knyazhich. He did not go through with it, although he considered it for a long time. As you are aware of, Avakov went into hiding for a week, held unofficial talks, and yet he remained in his post. And today, Turchynov and Avakov actually organized the blockade of Donbass, in order to avoid an open confrontation with Poroshenko. The contradictions came to boiling point, and Poroshenko understands that the global situation is now changing and his ousting is necessary. He cannot be ousted, because in this case he must purge the “Party of War”, which will tear apart the coalition. If the coalition evaporates, the Rada understands that it must be re-elected. And most likely Poroshenko will be impeached.

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Yulia Tymoshenko tried to execute it: using the son of UPA commander, Yury Shukhevych, she wanted to put into question the Minsk Agreements and announce the impeachment of the president. It failed. But in nowadays’ 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 eject Poroshenko out of the Presidential Administration and call new elections.

The Ukrainian authorities cleaned their shoes with the Constitution of Ukraine so many times that they can do it again for political expediency. Thus, the collapse of Poroshenko’s coalition is at its apex. He is grasping at straws. There is a chance that Yatsenyuk will be put in charge of National Bank. Many banks, including “Privat”, are bankrupt, there is a lot of debt, and the head of National Bank is in charge of significant financial resources. Every debt is sold at a lower price. There is a flow of dirty money. Poroshenko is in charge of this flow. Yatsenyuk proposed himself for the post of 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 Deputies of “Popular Front” are on the side of Avakov, and 7-8% are with Pashinsky. And there is the risk that even if Yatsenyuk takes National Bank, the coalition will still fall apart. Thus, Poroshenko is faced with a difficult choice, but he hopes to be able to navigate a way out. He hopes to survive as a political figure and propose something to Trump, if Trump will stay close. I must say that Soros is not missing anything. The protests in the US are financed by Soros, and he (you cannot accuse him of being foolish), seemingly believes he has a chance against Trump. And now all of Poroshenko’s statements and all the shelling of Donetsk plays very much into the hands of the team of Democrats – Clinton, Obama, Soros… As he forces himself into a corner.

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