Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The director of Institute of the Eurasian studies Vladimir Kornilov in an exclusive interview to Lugansk Inform Centre expressed his opinion on the reasons for the present aggravation of the situation in Donbass.
How do you estimate the escalation of the situation in Donbass, for example, the disruption of the withdrawal of weapons? Is it possible to affirm that Kiev not only ignores “Minsk-2”, but also passed to its direct violation?
“The most striking thing is that Kiev, up to the moment it received a response on the teeth, even didn’t hide the fact of direct violations! Please note, in December the Ukrainian military, in defiance of all overt and covert agreements, started to capture one after another territory in the buffer zone. At the same time, (the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Aleksandr) Turchynov publicly declared that this is a new strategy of Ukraine called the “creeping offensive”. And all this continued up to the beginning of February, when the DPR started to respond near Avdeevka. And how now it is possible to argue with this absolutely indisputable fact concerning who in reality provoked this aggravation?”
Don’t you think that all this is connected with Kiev’s fear of losing the support of the West?
“Yes, in fact, nobody hides it. Even the western media, which usually rushes to support Ukraine, regardless of what happens at the front, this time were compelled to recognize that it is Kiev who consciously aims for an aggravation of the situation to attract the attention of the West. But the most shocking is that some of these media, having acknowledged this fact, right afterwards demanded to punish … Russia! Yes, yes, for the fact that Kiev provoked an aggravation of the conflict! The standards of western journalism are such.
How far is Kiev, in your opinion, ready to go forward? Is it possible to designate the events in “gray zones” as the tactical success of the Kiev regime in the present phase of confrontation?
“I wouldn’t call the result of these adventures a “success”. Yes, this winter Ukraine, having violated agreements, entrenched itself in some settlements of the “gray zone”, without taking anything from neither the DPR, nor the LPR. By this it created additional conditions for more frequent provocations and victims from both sides. As far as I understood, Kiev was ready to go for even more serious provocations. But who is the least of all interested today in large-scale war on the borders of the European Union, it is Merkel, who is almost the only remaining powerful ally in the West of the present Kiev regime. I am sure that at the Berlin meeting with Poroshenko she again outlined to him the defined “red lines” that he mustn’t cross. Because for her before elections the war in Ukraine can only do much harm.”
Is the passive defense of LDPR justified or is it a “death sentence”, as some in our Republics consider it today?
“It is necessary to understand that a transition to an active counterattack by Donbass will be used against Donbass itself, and especially against Russia, where there is a desire to pit Moscow against the new administration of the US, already before the awaited by many meeting between Trump and Putin.
I hope that the next lesson from this situation is learned: to close the eyes to small violations of agreements is to give to Ukraine carte blanche to commit much more serious provocations, which can develop into a more serious conflict.”
What in your opinion is the current position of the USA and EU? Does the West continue to be the guarantor and, in fact, the actual defender of the actions of Kiev?
“The position of the USA today is unknown to anybody, including the US President and his environment. It is possible to say that it still hasn’t even been formed. We see how official representatives of Washington continue to read the speeches written by the same State Department that was working under Obama, and absolutely does not differ from the speeches of Samantha Power (the permanent representative of the US at the UN during Barack Obama’s Presidency). At the same time Trump directly states that he is ready to come to an agreement with Putin in exchange for certain concessions of Russia on other questions. Of course, a lot of things will depend on Trump and Putin’s negotiations.
Actually, that’s why Ukraine also tries via its provocations to influence the agenda of this meeting. The position of the EU didn’t especially change. But I will repeat, the less interested in unleashing a new round of war in Ukraine today are three governments – Germany, France, and the Netherlands. I.e. those countries of Europe, where in 2017 elections are planned.”
Some people think that the “Normandy Format” became obsolete and turned into a form of passive conniving in the actions of Kiev, that allegedly under its cover Kiev develops aggression against the LDPR. To what degree does such a vision of events, in your opinion, correspond to reality?
“I said more than once that there are only two alternatives to the “Normandy Format” – a new war or replacing it with another format of negotiations. We see that it is Kiev who insists on the second option, and recently is more and more active. It seems to me that with the due position of all guarantors of the Minsk Agreements – of course, I mean Russia, Germany, and France – it can and should force Ukraine to conduct direct negotiations with Donbass for rules of further peaceful co-existence.”
How in this situation must the proclaimed Republics behave?
“I don’t consider myself to have the right to give any advice to Donetsk and Lugansk citizens. At least until the moment I am in their presence… But I know one thing for sure: in this conflict there are many things, too many depend on the position of Russia. Respectively, both Donetsk and Lugansk need to influence this position in every way. Nowadays we celebrate the 99th anniversary of the creation of the Donetsk republic, and don’t forget, that it is Lugansk that was its second capital for a short time. At that time, the leaders – who now we would using the word “elites” – lost the fight for this Republic precisely in the Kremlin corridors and offices, having concentrated on front actions. And here these lessons, in my opinion, must be considered both in Lugansk and Donetsk.”
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