‘Reintegration of Donbas will be impossible after five years,’ senior Kyiv official says

Russia is trying to freeze the war in the Donbas and make it into a second depressive Transdniestria. (Image: UNIAN)

Russia is trying to freeze the war in the Donbas and make it into a second depressive Transdniestria. (Image: UNIAN) 

Analysis & Opinion, Political News

Ukraine must move quickly to promote the reintegration of the Donbas because “five years from now,” Heorhiy Tuka, the deputy head of the Kyiv ministry responsible for overseeing such plans, says, “it will already be impossible” to do so because the region will have been so affected by the Russian occupation.

Heorhiy Tuka, deputy minister for the affairs of the temporarily occupied territories and IDPs (Image: UNIAN)

Heorhiy Tuka, deputy minister for the affairs of the temporarily occupied territories and IDPs (Image: UNIAN)

In an interview published by the Apostrophe portal today, Tuka, the number two official in the Ukrainian ministry for the affairs of the temporarily occupied territories and IDPs, which was set up two weeks ago, says his ministry is now working on plans for such a reintegration.

“The goal of reintegration is the restoration of the civil way of life both on controlled and uncontrolled territories, the renewal of Ukrainian authority, and the return of local residents to a normal way of life. This will require definite efforts both from the authorities and from the international community,” Tuka says.

He adds that “one should also note that judging by the experience of international centers involved in the study of armed conflict, one must conclude that if in the course of five years the reintegration of territory does not take place, then in practice this process will never take place at all.”

Russia is no longer interested in the Donbas destroyed as a result of its military invasion and occupation. To Putin, it is only a mechanism to exert pressure on Ukraine. (Image: UNIAN)

Russia is no longer interested in the Donbas destroyed as a result of its military invasion and occupation. To Putin, it is only a mechanism to exert pressure on Ukraine. (Image: UNIAN)

His ministry, Tuka says, is developing a plan that will ultimately be confirmed by the president and the National Security and Defense Council; but in it, “elections are the last step” given the things, including the difficult task of rebuilding the infrastructure that has been destroyed and the creation of jobs, all of which must be done before any honest voting can occur.

At the present time, Tuka acknowledges, there are only three people working in his ministry, although there are supposed to be 105 when it is staffed up. He says he hopes that number will be reached this week, allowing the ministry to function on its own and in cooperation with others.

As a result of the Russian occupation, about 1.5 million of Donbas residents are at risk of hunger reported the United Nations press service in April 2016.

As a result of the Russian occupation, about 1.5 million of Donbas residents are at risk of hunger reported the United Nations press service in April 2016.

He indicates that the ministry will focus on the Donbas first and then Crimea given the situations in the two and that it will work with the ministries for social policy, education and others to help IDPs recover as well.

Much depends, Tuka concludes, on the reaction of the Russian side. If it refuses to cooperate, then the situation will be difficult indeed. “In the best case, we will get a Transdniestria; in the worst, something like Osetia.”

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Evelyn Myketa Livingston

    Reintegration of this area is a total waste of time, energy and dollars. These people hate Ukraine why would anyone want to reintegration them. They will remain like a festering cancer.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      The solution to that is easy: kick out anybody who has a Dwarfstanian passport as persona non grata when the territories are liberated. On no account should Kyiv renounce its rights to the territories of the so-called LNR and DNR, or to the Crimea for that matter. Criminals should not be rewarded, and that includes Dwarfstan.
      As for integration being impossible after 5 years, I disagree. One need only look at the reunification of East and West Germany, which were separated for no less than 45 years: one a democracy, the other a communist dictatorship. One could also point to the reintegration of the Baltics into Europe after 50 years of Russian occupation, dictatorship and colonisation as another example.
      The ethnic Ukrainians are a majority in both Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and they will realise soon enough that Moscow has nothing positive to offer them or any other ethnic minority given the current hostility to minoritiesin Dwarfstan. And Moscow doesn’t have the rubbles to rebuild what it destroyed and keep all its empty promises.

      • Quartermaster

        The true owners of the Donbas Crimea are going to have to assert themselves against the terrorists imported by Russia. If they won’t, then all Ukraine can do is wait them out. Sooner or later the Russian terrorists will leave because the Putinists aren’t going to have the money to rebuild what they destroyed.
        Under no circumstances, however, should Ukraine grant any sort of amnesty against any traitors. Either they leave when the Putinists withdraw, or Ukraine should put them against a wall for the deaths they caused.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Bullets are too expensive to waste on the thugs. A piece of rope can be used multiple times and is much cheaper.

          • Plutino

            There are still mine fields to clear, don’t forget that.

    • Nowhere Girl

      This is not true. Some people just don’t have the resources to leave. And what could they have done when they were “asked” at gunpoint to sign that they support “Novorossia”?
      I recently talked to a girl who had been there. They provided help to an elderly woman who was mostly living in her bathroom because it was the only room in her house with all walls intact. The woman is almost 100 years old, probably has poor health and little money, has no close family who could take her… How do you imagine this kind of people moving to unoccupied regions of Ukraine? They are just trying to survive.

      • Evelyn Myketa Livingston

        I don’t suggest that a 100 year old baba wold constitute an ongoing source of agitation. There are many, many others who disavowed any relationship with Kyiv and Ukraine and I don’t believe for a moment that reintegration is going to change them. Those individuals will never want to see peace in the Donbas.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Hence my suggestion that they be expelled as persona non grata.