Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The Permanent Representative of the President of Ukraine in the non-existent “Autonomous Republic of Crimea” [how Kiev describes Crimea after the 2014 referendum – ed] Boris Babin sounded the alarm – things on the isthmus are a lost cause!
The real owner of this virtual position, Boris Babin, bitterly told Ukrainian journalists that Kiev is losing its leverage over the South-Eastern territories. And this time it’s not about Donbass. The Ambassador lamented about the mess that reigns, in particular, in the South of the Kherson region, which borders Crimea, for which Babin allegedly is responsible for. In a number of regions, in particular, in Genichesk there are “signs of a loss of state control,” complains the official. And he pins responsibility for this… that’s right – on pro-Russian evil forces that send subversive groups to the Kherson region, and the latter allegedly shakes the situation.
Komsomolskaya Pravda asked a person who knows about the situation in Kiev, on the borders with Crimea, and in Crimea to comment.
Oleg Tsarev, the former Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, now living in Crimea: “Poroshenko needs this for elections and to tighten the screws”
What stands behind the statement of the Ukrainian official about the loss of control over the border with Crimea? The desire to tighten the screws there?
“This is the first thing that comes to mind. Such statements may be followed by a new punitive operation in the South of Ukraine. The topic of revenge is extremely important for Poroshenko, for his future electoral campaign. After all, exactly one year remains before the presidential elections in Ukraine. Taking into account that Donbass and Crimea will not vote in March 2019, there is no chance that the pro-Russian candidate will win the elections. That’s why it is important for Poroshenko to create an artificially pro-Russian candidate who he will win against.”
A strange game…
“On the basis of similar considerations, Yanukovych in his time inflated the rating of Tyagnibok and Klitschko in order to extract votes from Yulia Tymoshenko.”
Perhaps it is also about creating the illusion of an alternative?
“He has plenty of alternatives anyway. There are many politicians in Ukraine who criticise the current government in Kiev but at the same time take an anti-Russian position. But for Poroshenko it’s more convenient to fight against a pro-Russian candidate. This is a way of staying in power.”
Can some structures in Russia and Crimea be interested in tensions on the Ukrainian border territories?
“It is difficult to even comment on such things. The biggest problem in Ukraine is the general loss of control over the country. There are gangs of radicals, and every day something somewhere explodes, someone is robbed, enterprises are milked. Anarchy. Makhnovshchina.”
Does information about a real growth of tensions on the side of Perekop reach you, as a person living in Crimea?
“I know that the mood in the South of Ukraine is changing. Poroshenko’s real approval rating is extremely low. And it keeps falling. People are dissatisfied with the results of Maidan. Anti-Poroshenko moods are particularly strong in the Russian-speaking regions. And this also applies to the regions close to Crimea. People go to Crimea, see what life is like here, and compare. They make their conclusions.”
Should we expect the growth of Ukraine’s military presence near Crimea?
“Ukraine will never risk entering into an open military standoff with Russia. Kiev understands that this is suicide. They can say from the tribune that war with Russia is ongoing, they can strengthen their military units in the same Kherson region, but they will not try to storm and take the border. An emphasis will be made on terrorism and sabotage. The flow of people to Crimea and back is large, and it is not easy to track everyone. Trained groups come here, become acclimatised, and ask about. And then leave. Such work happens like it’s on a conveyor belt. You can imagine the difficulties that the Russian special services face here…”
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