Kyiv is not in control of the Donbas. It is not controlled by Akhmetov or anybody else in Ukraine. Today Donbas is controlled once again by Yanukovych or, more accurately, by Russian intelligence services through people who have always been and continue to remain in Yanukovych’s circle. Within the next two weeks, they need to clean out the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Every city council, every district council, and then the oblast councils will make decisions on referendums, language, etc. In addition, they will decide to create an “army of the southeast,” which will be armed and which will be given the assignment to protect the Russian-speaking population of the southeast. In other words, a month before the presidential elections, Kyiv will not be in control of almost 7 million citizens of Ukraine.
Will the Russians be able to carry out similar operations in other oblasts of the southeast? It’s an open question. But the likelihood of such a scenario is quite high.
For now, the main goal of the Russian Federation is not yet completely apparent. The separatists want a referendum on accession to Moscow. But Moscow does not need such a referendum. Moreover, a referendum could fall through in all the oblasts with the exception of Luhansk. Obviously, the Russians are aiming for something else–a controlled civil war. And here is the main question. How exactly do they plan to cross the border? They need a local conflict in which law enforcement will be fighting a Russian-speaking population. Thus, Russia will continue to broadcast these images to its audience.
The second important question–is Kyiv ready for such a war? Based on the evidence, apparently not. And this means only one thing–the legitimacy of the government in Kyiv will shrink catastrophically with each seizure of each police department. Therefore, Kremlin’s second assignment is to make the Kyiv government illegitimate in the eyes of Kyiv residents themselves as well as the residents in the pro-Ukrainian zone. And this is the best part, to force it, under pressure of some “Right Sector” or another, to resign.
The statements made yesterday by the Russian Minister of Finance Siluanov merit special attention. Twice during the day Siluanov offered Ukraine money in exchange for the recognition of the annexation of Crimea. Simply put, Russians on the eve of the meeting of the four representatives (Kerry, Ashton, Lavrov and Deshchytsia) have expressed their wishes, which consist of the following : they are willing to back down, but Ukraine must recognize the annexation and the EU must abandon sanctions.
The current events in Donbas are part of a Russian game with ever-rising stakes. EU fully understands the possible impact of floods of refugees and nightmarish scenarios of civil war (in reality Ukrainian-Russian war) near EU borders. There is no doubt that if the EU and US refuse to compromise, the Russians will continue to expand the perimeters of separatist activities. But by expanding these configurations, they are bringing the Ukrainian economy to a standstill.
Now, especially, everything depends on the determination of the Ukrainian government. Which, so far, has not been apparent.
By Vadym Denysenko, Espreso.TV, April 12, 2014
Translated by Anna Mostovych
Original Ukrainian text: