Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Based on the statements made by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a breakfast meeting at the editorial offices of Rossiyskaya Gazeta, observers concluded first of all that the “people’s republics” created with the Kremlin’s help in the Donbas should remain a part of Ukraine. However, the core of Lavrov’s statement was the declaration that the “people’s republics” should remain “people’s republics” coupled with support for the territorial unity of Ukraine. As we know, for Ukraine “people’s republics” do not exist at all. We consider “DNR” and “LNR” to be terrorist organizations, and we are only prepared to negotiate the status of individual regions of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. There is no mention of “people’s republics” in the Minsk agreements either. But Lavrov seems to know nothing about this. He wants Ukraine to agree to the draft constitution developed in Donetsk where “(the draft) deals exactly with the status envisioned in the Minsk agreements: the republics will be part of Ukraine and then the constitution will be reformed to confirm this status permanently.”
This is the whole point of the declaration that “the republics will be part of Ukraine.” For the Kremlin it is important to achieve a situation where two invented republics become part of Ukraine — “republics” that will be able to veto fundamental decisions of the Ukrainian government, including even decisions on European and Euro-Atlantic integration. And since these “republics” will have their own militias, they will be able to launch a war in Ukraine at any time — naturally, with Russian support. Moscow will again call this war “a civil conflict,” arguing that Kyiv, alas, failed to listen to the opinions of the “republics”!
This is the plan of Putin and Lavrov. This is the “Trojan horse” of thugs who will do anything to prevent our country from developing. Of course we could say that we have little choice — incorporation of the “republics” or war. But incorporating “DNR” and “LNR” while assigning them special status is also war. Only this time it will be war in which we will clash with a recognized enemy — not simply with the DNR gang but with the subject of Ukrainian statehood that requires the safeguarding of its rights. And nobody will listen to our explanations that we are really fighting with Russia, that it is really Russia that is behind the “people’s republics.” That is because their status will not have been approved by Russia but by us.
This is exactly why we absolutely must not accept the Russian “decentralization plan” because it is not a plan for decentralization but a plan for occupation. I have no doubt that it is being proposed to our Western partners and is becoming a major Russian trap for the future of Ukrainian statehood.