Introduction by Kennedy Applebaum
April 14, 2016
Alexander Zakharchenko, President of the Donetsk People’s Republic, offers illuminating remarks in the following commentary on the recent reshuffling of power in Ukraine and its employment by Kiev as a tactic for delaying fulfillment of the Minsk agreements.
In his final paragraph, the DPR leader expresses a ray of hope regarding upcoming US elections, with a positive note about Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
This is especially good news for those of us Americans who are trying to help the young Republic.
On the Effect of Resetting Power in Kiev on
the Peace Process in Donbass
Commentary by Alexander Zakharchenko
Zakharchenko Official Website
Translated by Quemado Institute
April 12, 2016
The President of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko commented on the possible impact of changes in the ranks of the Kiev government on progress by the Ukrainian side in fulfulling the Minsk agreements.
Zakharchenko: There is nothing new here. The settlement of the conflict in Donbass would be helped by the performance of the set of measures signed in Minsk over a year ago. There is, however, a simpler and quicker way. Kiev can withdraw its troops from the Donetsk Oblast [region] and sit down with us at the negotiating table. You have to understand the obvious thing. Kiev can withdraw its troops from the demarcation line and bring them home. But us? We cannot, because we are already at home! Our houses are behind us in the literal sense of the word. We are at home, we have nowhere for troops to be sent. It is Kiev that sends its troops here. Let it take them back to the barracks and we will begin negotiations on the future.
Not everyone can see this paradox. Now, if Kiev took their heavy weapons away from the contact line on the basis of the set of measures, they could actually remain within the borders of the Donetsk Oblast. But when we take our weapons to the specified distances, we leave without protection the city of Donetsk, where many of our native militia live. Thus, it is in accordance with the Minsk agreements that we leave our homes without the cover of heavy weapons, while Kiev just redeploys its troops from one place to another—different but with the same effect.
Still, we are ready to fulfill our obligations. We signed a package of measures, and so we will fulfill it. Except now, the execution does not depend on us but on Kiev. After all, without the political part and the removal of the economic blockade, the cease-fire will inevitably be temporary. If you do not begin to address the political issues, the collision will be resumed sooner or later. Such is the logic of all these conflicts. Read history.
Will the attitude to the conflict change with the change of power in Kiev? You cannot talk about it with confidence yet, despite what imperious combination may emerge in Kiev and how it relates to Europe. But one thing is sure: the political crisis in Kiev is not conducive to the political settlement of our conflict. More to the point: any ministerial reshuffle, any change of offices, any re-election, and so forth—all this not only interferes with, but actually blocks the Minsk process. Judge for yourself. Each such event allows the officials in Kiev to postpone the solution that would resolve the conflict: until there is a new cabinet, until the election of the new Verkhovna Rada, or until the election of a new president, etc. That is, it enables Kiev to postpone implementation of the package of measures. Kiev is definitely taking advantage of this.
Therefore, we are not happy with all this political turmoil in Kiev. Let it be determined as soon as possible that they they will be engaged in the performance of their obligations under the package of measures.
Will a new owner in the US White House have any impact on our conflict? It probably will, though not radically. America has a more or less continuous foreign policy when switching presidents or parties in power. However, the current elections promise more change. In particular, the position of Trump indicates that he is ready for change. But for this to happen, he must win more elections. So we will just have to wait on the matter.